Expert Advice: On-Again, Hopefully Just Off
Hello My Friends! It’s been a while since we’ve done a proper advice column, but we had a new question come in!
“Hi RB. So there’s this guy at work who I’ve been dating on and off for some time. We both know this isn’t going to work long term, but every time we cut it off, we somehow manage to end up back together. We have great chemistry, but our goals just don’t align. What should I do?”
First of all, thanks for the submission! There’s definitely a lot of moving parts here. Let’s identify those first.
- Someone at work
- On and off again
So in my personal opinion, it’s almost never a good idea to date someone at work, especially someone you come into frequent contact with professionally. I find it’s always helpful to think of a worst case scenario, and in this case that worst case is that you have a blow-up break-up, and the professional relationship is irreparably ruined. That’s a really bad worst case scenario. Now this isn’t going to apply if the individual is someone in a different department, or you don’t have mutual work friends with, it should be fine.
Secondly, the “on-again-off-again” phrase, is always a bad sign. I’m not saying there aren’t exceptions to the rule, but for the most point, this is a bad idea. A personal example of an exception is when me and my now husband starting dating, I had significant commitment issues due to coming out of a series of bad relationships. Therefore the most logical thing for me to do of course (heavy sarcasm here), was to break up before anything got too serious. After some extra consideration, I realized this was a bad choice and I was just running away from my emotions, and we got back together. Fun fact: 1 month later, he proposed.
Now this might bring up the question, why was it ok to get back together? A few things, but most importantly, tying into point 3 we had really great chemistry, professionally, spiritually, personally and every other -ally you can think of. Our long term and short term goals aligned, but I think just as importantly, we had our own interests and had a balanced amount of differences. I would argue this is just as important as the similarities because personally, I don’t want to date myself. It’s important to have different perspectives in life.
In relation to the aforementioned, I once read a fantastic quote: “If you break up, and get back together again, you should both be treating this as a completely new relationship”, and I find myself heartily agreeing. For the most part, when people break up, it’s not on a whim, but because deep down, they know something is wrong. One of those few times the fast emotional response is the correct one. If we give ourselves time, we tend to try to rationalize out any real problems, and convince ourselves we over-reacted (you probably didn’t). If you decide to get back together you’ve decided 1 of 2 things: Either those issues are no longer present or you’ve grown as a person and those issues will no longer bother you. If neither of these apply, or you’re saying any of the following: “If you love someone, you can ignore small problems like that!” or “They’ll change as they get older, this won’t always be a problem,” then I respond with a NOPE NOPE NOPE NOPE NOPE. Bail hard and keep yourself from talking to this person at all because you’ll likely make a stupid decision. Now that’s a lot about point 2, so let’s move on to point 3. Before I end this, please read our article about the importance of the “Flag System“, and use it to help you rationalize why to not get back together.
Chemistry. It’s a completely illogical force, and usually a force of nature to be reckoned with. There’s not much to say on this other than yes, physical chemistry is important. But that’s really your brain just telling you the other person has bacteria and anti-bodies that you need (pheromones). I know not everyone can do this, but I’ve trained myself to not pay attention to physical appearance at all, because at the end of the day it really has 0 impact except on maybe how much sex you initially have. What you really want to focus on are emotional and mental chemistry. Do you feel emotionally supported? Do you feel better after talking about how your day went with each other? Do you smile and laugh more than usual with this person? Do you feel your conversations are invigorating? Do you feel this person pushes you to be the best version of yourself, intellectually and morally? As general advice, if you answered no to any of the above questions, there needs to be re-evaluation on what’s important to you in a relationship and are you happy? But once you feel you’re emotionally and mentally connected, the physical stuff doesn’t matter. Case in point with a lot of military: See the 1 million stories of a soldier who’s barely alive after countless hours of plastic surgery after a bomb went off, and comes home to have 9 children with spouse. Physical chemistry will always follow after the more important stuff, so don’t worry about that or try to force it.
Hopefully this helps our writer and our other readers as well! If you have a question you’d like to submit, you can always email us at email@example.com. Please don’t forget to comment below!
Expert Advice: The Flag System
Hello My Friends! We have an exciting article today about what I call “The Flag System”.
To pique your interest, I’ll describe this as a 100% foolproof way to know when to end any relationship with ease. Interested? Great! Let’s go.
In our everyday life, we as humans are constantly re-evaluating people and wondering if we should continue to maintain the relationship. Hundreds of points and counter-points come into our mind. Sometimes we make the wrong decision after thinking about it for days, and sometimes we make the right decision on a whim. So how are we to know if the decision we made is the right one, long term?
I’m going to preface this by saying one thing that is very important to keep in mind: People hardly change their core principles. That is to say, the ideas that keep us moving on a day to day basis, that we base all of our decisions on, those don’t really change no matter how much time passes. Unless there’s a life changing event, people largely stay the same. So if you break up with someone, or call off a friendship, chances are in a couple of years even, you would face the same problems.
So what is the flag system? It’s a system used to rate an individuals actions in an unbiased way to establish whether a continued relationship is beneficial. As humans, we’ll always try to argue away why a specific action wasn’t that bad. This system takes away your ability to do that.
Based on an individual’s actions, you’ll rate that particular action as a Red, Orange or Yellow Flag. The color can have a corresponding size of “Baby, Medium or Large” if you prefer a more exact system. Now, to assign the color, you can only take a one sentence description of what the individual did, WITHOUT USING THE WORD “BUT”, and you would rate that as though your friend had told you someone did that to them. For example: “My boyfriend cheated on me, but we were in a gray area and he wasn’t sure if we were together and… blah blah blah”. Great story, very touching, but the phrase we’re looking at is “My boyfriend cheated on me”. If you’re trying to give me context on why the sentence isn’t as bad as it sounds, you’ve already answered the question. In this particular case, this is a red flag which means you IMMEDIATELY break up, no questions asked, no conversations to be had. I’ve listed the breakdown of the flag system below. Flag sizes are an optional implementation:
3 Yellow = Break up
3 baby yellows = 1 Big Yellow
2 medium yellows = 1 Big Yellow
2 Orange = Break up
3 baby oranges = 1 Big Orange
2 medium oranges = 1 Big Orange
1 Red = Break up
2 baby reds = 1 Big Red
1 medium red = 1 Big Red
So just to provide a few more examples, what’s a Yellow or Orange look like?
Orange: “My SO told me they had an STD test, but they hadn’t. They told me before we had sex that they hadn’t had the test done and they lied and they were going to go get one done immediately”. This is a clear lie and had the individual not told you the truth, it would have been a red flag. However, because they told you the truth and got the test before you had sex, it means their conscious kicked in. A bad trend that makes you doubt the person, but depending on what traits you place most value on, this may not be grounds for immediate termination. A “slippery slope scenario” lands this in the Orange category.
Yellow: “My friend and I keep making plans to hang out together, but they cancel last minute every time. Most recently, my friend bailed on coming to my wedding.” This is a great example for 2 reasons. One, it illustrates how a small problem can snowball out of control, but two, it shows where there is and isn’t room for leniency. Technically, your friend constantly bailing to hang out isn’t an indicator of a bad friendship or even of needing to cut things off. It’s maybe just very annoying. So you either give yourself some space from the person, or you have a chat. Maybe things don’t improve, that’s a series of small yellow flag, because again, you’re just aggressively annoyed at this point. Then some more important events come up like weddings or baby showers, and they do the same thing. This earns them a big Yellow flag, and now you stop inviting them to events. Now maybe they realize they’ve messed up, and offer to throw you a birthday party, which of course (because people really don’t change like that), they forget to do or its a complete disaster. Well, now they’ve ruined your birthday and that’s another big Yellow flag. You don’t have time to deal with this kind of irresponsibility all the time, so maybe it’s time to terminate the relationship because now you’ve got 3 big Yellow flags. So this shows that a series of seemingly small, insignificant items can snowball into something that exhibits a behavior you just need to get rid of in your life.
I hope this has been helpful! We’ve had a variety of questions come in that get answered using the Flag System, so hopefully, this answers the questions for a lot of our readers! If you still have questions, please don’t hesitate to email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or comment below!
Purple Mattress Update!
You may be wondering what ever happened with this mattress that we made such a big deal out of unraveling?
Please note this article for reference: https://newopinions.wordpress.com/2017/08/05/purple-mattress-unraveling/
Well, to be quite honest, a lot.
The first 100 days was fantastic, as advertised. The mattress is soft, yet sturdy enough to feel like it’s supporting your weight. It’s some of the best sleep I’ve ever gotten. I have a tendency to sleep on my stomach and occasionally my side. That’s pretty uncomfortable on conventional mattresses because it either hurts my arm, or I’m not breathing because I sink too far into the mattress. This mattress truly has a “just right” type quality.
Heating is another issue. Most mattresses have so much stuff in them, it’s very easy to overheat, especially in the summer. The Purple clearly allows for ventilation, allowing for air to actually travel through the mattress. It’s an usual feeling as we still have “normal” pillows, and the heat difference between them is a little jarring. The mattress manages to always stay cool, and is almost cold when you change positions. Conversely, the pillows are so hot, that my face starts to feel sticky from sweat. Not a pleasant image, I’m sure.
So for me, clearly, this is the best mattress I could’ve asked for. Inspyre on the other hand, is not such a happy camper.
As I mentioned, the first 100 days were great. Eventually, however, he started to notice back and shoulder problems. It seems for individuals who are used to hard mattresses and find them comfortable (like a Costco hard mattress), the Purple is actually too soft and not providing enough support. That being said, if you’ve read Inspyred’s bio, you know he’s a software engineer and sits at a desk all day, as well as ruining his body further by constantly juggling or spinning poi. I’m personally more likely to attribute his pain to all of that, but he does insist that he sleeps better on the floor than on the mattress….so I’d like readers to keep in mind that level of hardness.
Personally, it’s a little pricey but I find it well worth the price. 8/10. Inspyre would give it a 6.5/10.
It’s odd to hear compliments on something you’ve historically been insecure about. I don’t think I’ve told many people, but I’ve honestly always feared I was socially awkward. I was afraid that people were only listening to me to humor me, too polite to say to my face they didn’t want to spend time with me. I’d feel ashamed every time I missed an inside joke, attempted banter that fell flat, or initiated a hang out only to be ignored. I used to find crowded places terrifying, and would run to the bathroom to cry.
I don’t anymore. Some of my best friends have told me for years that I’m not socially awkward, that I’m perfectly fine the way I am, and that fear is groundless. But it’s not until I’ve heard that message from multiple sources – an aunt, an uncle, a new acquaintance, fellow peers who tell me they envy my socializing ability, and finally the catalyst, a longtime manager attending a networking event who complimented me on my ability to network, saying every event has that one person who stands out as going above and beyond to engage attendees, and I was that person. I still had to ask another friend to affirm that I’m not socially awkward before I really believed the genuineness of his compliment.
With that said, I’m not some superhuman socializing networking machine that instantly charms every person I meet into handing me a job offer/marriage/party invitation. I’m not usually the center of attention nor do I feel the need to put myself there. But I am comfortable striking up conversations with strangers, have no qualms about public speaking, and find meeting new people a rewarding experience. It’s why I’m in DC right now, on a spontaneous week-long trip that I know I will not ever get the chance to do once classes and responsibilities pick up.
I share this not to brag about how awesome I am, but to tell a story I feel is not told often enough. Most people who have the abilities one aspires to have are not typically born with it. The person “good at x,” from painting to basketball to long-distance running to socializing, didn’t start out that way. That person usually worked hard at it, improving little by little, until unexpectedly, they crossed that threshold into “good at x.” I share this because maybe someone reading this will gain a bit of courage to break away from their self-labeled social awkwardness. Maybe it’ll be enough to start chatting with strangers, initiating conversations, making jokes. Sure, there’ll be plenty of shut-downs, cold shoulders, faked laughter, but it’s not your fault. You tried, they didn’t respond, but it’s not usually because there’s something innately wrong with your socializing ability. Stuff happens, often without any explanation. Such is life. I went through it too. We all do. Yeah, I was scared too. But now I’m not.
Short thoughts on Drumpf
If you voted for Trump, you should absolutely be ashamed of yourself. Forget the politics for two seconds. Let’s talk about the person. You voted for a man who is personally responsible for a 90% increase in hate crimes against muslims, increased attacks on SIKHS (people who haven’t done ANYTHING except be brown, wear a turban, and allowed ignorant people to confuse us with Muslims), who makes fun of the disabled, who doesn’t believe in women’s health rights OR gender rights, who COMPLEMENTS the worst leader the world has seen since WWII (Putin), who let’s forget if he actually did or didn’t rape women, he sure as hell thinks it’s acceptable and PERPETUATES rape culture and sexual assault, and who has the temperament of a small child but somehow has nuclear codes now. What you’re saying is that your own white privilege is more important to you than the safety and health of ALL of these communities, because he’s actually threatened all these communities. You’re saying that my health and my family’s wellbeing doesn’t matter to you, because along with myself, I’ve never seen so many people absolutely terrified to live in a country they love. And most importantly, you’ve never had your family members physically attacked and bombed because they’re different, so beyond not even understanding the fear your friends face, you clearly don’t have the empathy either. And any rebuttal or excuse you make for him, clearly shows HOW little your understanding is, or worse, you do understand and don’t care. You are absolutely and undeniably shameless.
Some General Life Advice
I’m not usually very sentimental on here, but I had something I felt was important to share. I’m going through a time in my life right now, where I am genuinely happier than I’ve ever been, and every day is a blessing. I have a new wonderful job, I love the people I work with, I’m getting married to an AMAZING man who is my soul mate, who himself comes from an amazing family, an incredibly supportive network of friends and things honestly couldn’t be better right now.
That being said, I have a lot of loved ones who are going through incredibly difficult periods in their lives right now. And I went through that same difficulty myself for that last 8 years or so. So, I wanted to reach out to those I love, and let you know… IT GETS BETTER.
I promise, God rewards good people. If you are kind from the bottom of your heart, you will go through terrible trials and tribulations that seem completely unjustified. Push through it. These are tests that you must pass BECAUSE you are an amazing human being, and after it’s all said and done, everything will come together. That is my RB-Guarantee. Look around yourself for proof. Do you notice terrible people have it really easy early in life, and suddenly, everything crashes and burns? If you are good, YOU WILL BE OK.
That being said, there’s things you can certainly do to help. Excuse my impertinence, but I have some guaranteed tips that will help ease the pain in the mean time.
1. Learn to accept that you are a wonderful human being, even with your faults. This is easier said than done. DON’T BE SO HARD ON YOURSELF.
2. MEDITATE. Meditation makes everything easier and it calms you down and decreases your cortisol levels! Lots of health benefits!
3. Know that things WILL get better. I’m sure you can use your own life’s examples to validate that.
4. Think Positive! The world isn’t against you. It’s making you stronger so you can easily accomplish your goals later in life and find your “The One”.
5. Relax. Seriously. It’s hard to take time for ourselves in this day and age and just not do anything. Both your mind and body require time to rebook and re-energize. Keeping yourself busy isn’t giving you time to repair yourself. Sometimes, it’s good to just sit, do nothing, and not worry about the billion things you have to do. I promise you will be more efficient after a break.
And FINALLY 6. Embrace your faults and know that you can always improve yourself. Work on introspection and making yourself better! BUT, remember it’s not make or break. There’s no deadline. You’re doing it for yourself! If you feel like you’re not making progress fast enough in ANYTHING, that’s ok!
And remember, if you have ANY problem at all, I’m always here to talk to a friend, whether we haven’t talked in a week , in 7 years or really ever. Myself and I’m sure your support network are always here for you!
I hope this post helped even one person. Other than that, I hope everyone has an absolutely wonderful week! ❤
Advice: Virgin Guilt
Hi everyone! It’s been a while and a very, VERY busy few months. There will be a startling announcement coming out sometime in June (hopefully), so I hope you guys are ready for that!
In the mean time, we have our first user-submitted advice column! If you have questions or need advice of your own, you can always email us at email@example.com. In the mean time, let us commence!
Q: “I know virginity is a social construct, but I lost mine to someone I regret losing it to. It’s been years but it still bothers me. How do I move past this experience?”
RB: First of all, let me begin with this – in life, there are always going to be things people tell you are right and wrong. The thing is, what is right for someone, may be wrong for someone else. Furthermore, virginity is absolutely a social construct. Although we make it seem like the person you lose your virginity to is incredibly important and you shouldn’t do it unless you are madly in love and dedicated to that person, quite honestly, not only is that not true or fair, but frankly, it’s not healthy. I’m not saying that you should start sleeping around the second you hit puberty, but if you feel like you want to have sex and you are comfortable with the person you’re doing it with, then by all means, you should. I know plenty of people who have waited until their mid to late 20s and I know an equal amount of people who lost their virginity in high school. Society has this weird rule that the second you turn 18, you should lose your virginity, but that’s not true. Those who waited until their late 20s, some of them mutually lost their virginity to their spouses while others were so overcome by the desire to just get the process over with, that they not only weren’t mature as adults, but also regretted the choice they made. The same thing can be said of those who lost their virginity in high school. In the end, these same people, years after the experience all agreed that it really didn’t matter who they lost their virginity to; it was just another aspect of life to move past.
Now let me tell you a personal story that exhibits this perfectly. My best friend lost her virginity when she was 19 to the first guy she was in a serious relationship with. This guy was significantly older than her, but also a virgin and pressured her into having sex. She conceded, but the relationship became toxic to the point that I remember her crying everyday because of some sort of emotional or mental abuse. In the end, they broke up but she kept telling me that she wished she hadn’t made such a stupid decision and had thought it out more. However, what was done was done, and although I told her to move past it and just look forward to a wonderful future with someone amazing she would find one day, that advice is easier said than done. Fast forward several years and she finally was stable(ish) enough to start dating again. She met this guy who was absolutely amazing and perfect for her. It turns out, he had the EXACT same baggage that she did and also had regret. This mutually terrible experience for both of them ended up turning into a huge bonding experience. They were able to relate to and support each other unlike most people around them. Today, this couple is engaged and soon to be married, and they tell me that their life experiences that were terrible at the time, actually turned into positives because they may not have ended up together without those experiences.
TLDR; I’m a strong believer in karma. If you’re a good person, and something bad happens to you, it might turn into a great lesson and experience in the end. It might just take some time to realize that. Once you do, you’ll be able to look forward to the future, knowing that something good will happen out of a terrible experience.
alwaysinspyred: If it weren’t for the staggering societal implications of virginity, moving past ‘losing your virginity’ wouldn’t be any harder to ‘move past’ than outgrowing your favorite pair of underwear or graduating high school; unfortunately, due to the great taboo of sexuality in U.S. culture (assuming you’re from the United States), virginity is drilled into the social consciousness as being this extremely significant thing (like the myth that female genitalia have some physical distinction between virgin and non-virgin). The truth is, once you break away from the idea that virginity is an essential aspect of your sexual identity or integrity, there’s really nothing holding it up anymore. Your sexual experience (or lack thereof) doesn’t EVER need to be discretely marked or placed on any kind of ‘experience’ or ‘purity’ scale. Sexuality is one of the most intensely personal and unique aspects of the human experience.
Having said all of that, as social creatures, we humans naturally use others (usually close friends/family) as reference points for judging whether or not we are making the right choices, especially for new experiences, which is why guilt about one’s sexual past is, in my experience, VERY common, in no small part because of the aforementioned stigmas. I can’t really offer advice any more unique to your situation, I do hope that this advice has helped. I firmly believe that anyone whose image of you is negatively affected by the way you lost your virginity simply has an immature sense of sexuality. I hope you can find peace from your experience and use it to help you grow.
Expert Advice: If You’re Being a Jerk, Calm Down
Howdy all! I hope everyone had a wonderful holiday season and a wonderful year’s beginning! So while we’re in the middle of writing our mini-series, I don’t want you guys to get bored! So the solution?: Our first “Expert Advice” article! Here’s the thing, this article isn’t so much a traditional “Ask Amy” or an “If I Were You” (my preference) type article. More just an excuse to allow me to rant about something I’ve noticed that’s prevalent in society (I haven’t done one of these in a while!).
And I’m going to warn my audience and make a Dan Carlin-esque disclosure: I’m 100% going to offend literally everyone with some part of what I’m about to say. If demand is high enough, I’ll delve deeper into my individual topic opinions, but this article, as opposed to my usual style, is more stream of consciousness and a culmination of my overall personality. It isn’t going to focus on one topic and in fact, is going to jump around quite a bit. But, I think it’s INCREDIBLY important that when you see a fault in society, you point it out, in a kind and gentle way. Because at the end of the day, terrible things are going to happen. We can’t put all instances on the same plane of good and bad. But what matters is the person’s intention. Sometimes in life, I try my absolute hardest to help someone, and in the end, I end up messing everything up so badly that I wish I hadn’t done anything at all. But at the end of the day, I wasn’t trying to mess everything up; I was trying to help. And that’s what matters. And I want to make clear that that is what I’m trying to accomplish with this post. My goal is ultimately to make a more comfortable social atmosphere where ideas and perspectives can be exchanged, rather than starting a fighting match and having a preschool reminiscent argument of “No. MY opinion is better. You suck.” And what’s the point of having a blog if I don’t make use of it? So. You’ve been fairly warned. Enjoy the rest!
It’s become obvious to me that our society is becoming more and more liberal as time has been going on. Disregarding the current political atmosphere (I’m not even going to bother talking about what a cancer Trump is), we see that even the older folks who have been traditionally conservative are being swayed, or just passing away, to make room for the more liberally minded youth. However, this new liberalism is creating an equally disturbing atmosphere of “extreme liberalism” where everyone has to been politically correct all the time, jokes are not acceptable, and anyone who disagrees with your sentiment is a bigoted-fool who deserves ridicule. I’m going to be very clear on my stance: Nothing good has ever come from being on any extreme. I don’t care if you’re Hitler or Gandhi (either Indra or Mohandas), you’re equally bad in my book. The same applies to present day issues, whether it be abortion, video games, sexuality, sex, and yes, even rape. The only category I would argue is excluded from this is genocide or mass-murder. If you’re ok killing multiple people, whether it be ten or a thousand, you deserve to burn in hell. That’s a personality trait that is going to bleed into everything you do.
So, let’s roll back for a second. Did I just say rape? Am I saying rape is ok? Am I some sort of weird rape-apologist or even worse, a rapist? The answer: Hell no. No where close. Here’s what I am saying: Let’s say you have a pediatric neurosurgeon. This guy (or gal) has saved thousands of children’s lives. He’s part of Doctors Without Borders. He was in Zimbabwe saving children (on that note, Mugabe can rot in hell too). Started a non-profit that does pro-bono surgery for children in impoverished nations. Great guy, right? Maybe even deserves a Nobel prize? Here’s the thing: this guy is a serial rapist. Does that mean all the good he’s done in this world is discounted? No. He’s saved thousands of lives and no matter what you say, those children and their families are thankful. But does that mean he’s excused for his actions? Absolutely not. He gets to go to jail. He’s committed an atrocious, inexcusable crime and can rot in jail. Those aren’t contradicting statements. What I’m saying is the person is separate from their work. You can do AMAZING work, and still be the scum of the Earth. Whether you want to admit it or not, Hitler’s programs moved medical science forward by at LEAST a hundred years. Was it ethical or even right? No. But you can’t ignore facts because “You don’t like someone”. Statistically, almost everyone in the world has done something wrong, or something you might disagree with. But if you go with the theory that “If all my heroes are criminals, then I have no heroes”, well then you’re excluding yourself from some amazing life lessons. We don’t need to like every part of a person at all times. We just need to value certain aspects of them. You can love how great of a doctor the neurosurgeon was, love Gandhi’s dedication to his cause, and love Hitler’s charisma, and still hate all of them as people. But if you go against every aspect of everyone you dislike, you will never vicariously learn life lessons, and you won’t grow as a person.
So, at this point, some people might call me a terrible person or a rape apologist. Here’s what I have to say to them: Screw you. You have no idea what my life has been, what the hell I’ve been through, and my experience with domestic violence or sexual assault. And here’s the thing: I don’t owe you an explanation. My knowledge and opinion can not only be verified by me telling you my life story. I have been through my own personal hell, just like everyone else. And let’s say I didn’t have any personal experience – it doesn’t matter. My opinion is my own and I am entitled to it, just the same as everyone else. Can you imagine the trauma an individual has to face every time they have to recount their story, just to TRY and allow you to understand their opinion? Just think about it this way. You get into an argument with someone about the death penalty. You are adamantly for the death penalty and your opponent is adamantly against it. You both bring up several valid points but at the end of the day, you say “You don’t understand. You don’t know what you’re talking about. You’ve never had to deal with someone who’s life got taken away and you would change your mind if someone you knew was murdered.” Immediately, the other person breaks down crying and runs away. You have no idea why. It turns out, this person’s father was murdered by his best friend back in the 90s, and they saw it happen in front of them. That’s traumatic. And you brought it up completely inconsiderate of their backstory; not intentionally, but how could you have known. And that’s a perfect example of why we have to be sensitive when judging someone else. You might also be having a tough time with the conversation because of your own personal reasons. But if you only attack the other person, you’ll never figure out that you guys have a common experience or ally that you can bond you together and help you fight against the aspect you both wish to fight against. There’s no movement forward without cooperation. Only stagnation. And you might think that’s an incredibly rare situation and when does that happen. Well, right off the bat, I’ve been put into a similar situation multiple times, so don’t discount something just because you think it doesn’t happen. It happens a lot more than you think.
So let’s back up again. How do we fix this? You can’t just pre-monese someone’s life story. The answer: Be kind. Be understanding. Know that just because someone doesn’t agree with you, that doesn’t mean they don’t have their own reasons and own perspective. And even if they don’t, so what? If someone disagrees with you, you don’t get to say “you HAVE to do this, or else” or “because you feel this way, I’m going to do this to you”. By all means, if it bothers you so much, stop talking to them, unfriend them, don’t talk to them – as close-minded as that is, you’re welcome to your own opinions and actions. People will judge you on your actions. But, there is no way you get to tell other people to not talk to them or unfriend them, without repercussions. That’s abusive and frankly manipulative. Honestly, you’re a shitty person. But guess what? Just cause you’re a shitty person, it doesn’t discount all the good stuff you’ve done. Isn’t it funny how things come full circle?
And on that note, we as a society need to learn how to take a joke. Not everything in life is terrible and needs a fight. Note the person’s intent. And then maybe, we can all have a good laugh together. Honestly, that sounds really nice. Not everything has to be so PC. I think Chris Hardwick and Wil Wheaton described this sentiment best on Hardwick’s podcast “The Nerdist”. In reference to the Bill Cosby scandal, “It’s not like we’re saying ‘Let’s make Cosby jokes a lot!’ It’s in the news a lot and it’s at the forefront of comedians minds…But it comes from ‘You’re trying to make rape funny’. No. It’s the guy. He needs to be taken down. And a comedian can’t go punch in the face, so the only thing a comedian can do is punch him with jokes…we have to keep him down and shamed where he belongs” . And it’s not just comedians who handle things that way. There’s a lot of people out there who have dealt with traumatic issues and express their anxiety or anger through joking. Just the same way that some people handle it through outburst or sporadic crying or even depression in some cases. But everyone handles their issues differently and by trying to stifle that because it doesn’t appeal to you, is factually damaging to another person’s mental state. Because the comedian’s purpose is by no means to attack or hurt anyone’s feelings, except for the person they’re making the joke about (i.e. Cosby, Hitler, etc.). And if the intention is pure, attacking that person is going back to essentially mentally and emotionally abusing this individual for dealing with their demons in their own way.
This ability to separate people from their work is part of what we call “being an adult”. We’re not in high school anymore, people (and if you are, you’re getting an early life lesson). The world isn’t going to get any better by everyone being assholes to each other. Listen to people. Work together. If you’re a Trump supporter, you’re not going to accomplish anything by throwing poor Sikh, Jewish, Muslim, and other minorities out of the rally. If you’re a feminist, shoving your propaganda in someone’s face isn’t going to help your cause. In both cases, you just make people resent you, and not look out for your best interest. I’ll adamantly agree that we need to fight against the normalization of negative behavior like rape/murder/sexism/etc., but a socially violent backlash against every joke, comment or perspective only succeeds in making that entire discussion more hostile for both sides, and no one leaves any happier or the wiser. By belittling someone’s opinion, you have put yourself in a situation where people are actively making a decision to not help you and maybe even stay away from you. And bless you if you have friends, that even though they feel threatened by you, they still stand up to help you out. But frankly, most people aren’t that nice. Which means sooner or later, history will repeat itself and those who take an extreme stance on anything will be marred by history, torn down, and the entire cause, no matter how just, will be tarnished by how you were perceived, and nothing to do with how amazing of a cause you might have.
Hopefully, this article has given you a different perspective to think about. Hopefully, if you’ve attacked people in the past on their opinion, you’ll man up and take a moment to apologize. I’m not saying I’m perfect by any means. I have some apologizing to do too. But, if we don’t all take a step forward together, we stay stagnant or worse, move back. And if this article did the complete opposite, and you hate me for it, that’s fine too. Feel free to unfriend me, hate me, talk shit about me to whoever you want. That’s 100% your right as an individual. But if that spills over into attacking others based on their opinion, just know that you are a toxic person. You are not contributing to society or your cause in any way. Simply making others see your cause with an associated negative light. But again, that’s your right as an individual. And even if you don’t care about the individual because “The cause is more important than any one person,” well that’s fine too. But it benefits you to approach the situation the same way because if you don’t, that associated negative light will eventually spread through not just people who know you, but through the entire cause as a whole, and at the very least, you care about the cause. The best examples of this are the current perception of “3rd-wave feminists” or PETA members, or even churches and religious institutions like the Westboro Baptist Church, that are just overall all seen as “full of crazy people.” You can’t tell me that reputation has helped any one of those organizations.
In essence, as long as you are kind and open-minded to the other individual, we can make progress in a many number of issues. But we will only remain stagnant as a society if we refuse to work together. So to sum it all up: if you’re being a jerk, calm down.
- “http://nerdist.com/nerdist-podcast-wil-wheaton-returns-again/” ~48 minute mark.