I am not perfect. I am not an expert on all of humanity. I have no credentials, really, to tell you what you should know or what you should or shouldn’t do. However, in life (and especially during my time at CCBC) I have determined that there are certain things that I feel that everyone should know for their own benefit and for the benefit of their fellow humans, and I have decided to share some of these things with you. I hope that you get something out of this, and consider applying some of these Things You Should Know to your lives.
Not Everyone Views “Opening Up” the Same Way
My friend and I have discussed this on numerous occasions, and have arrived at the realization that not everyone sees “opening up” as the same thing. Some people seem to think that if someone tells them something about themselves, it means that they have “opened up” to them and therefore suddenly value them as a friend. Now, waaaaaaait a minute here.
You know the people– you meet them, they tell you about a sucky event from their childhood, you respond by saying that a similar thing happened to you– and all of the sudden they think that the two of you are close friends.
In most situations, however, both people involved do not view this the same way. To some people, for example, you “opening up” is telling them something that happened to you, saying your name, age, and major. Then they become massively hurt when they realize that the “friendship” did not matter as much to you as it did to them.
My friend and I decided that if everyone viewed “opening up” the same way, the world would be a whole lot easier. We define opening up as the following:
1. Sharing not only things about yourself, but the REASON behind these things. If they tell you that they have a fear of ketchup, they’re just sharing a fact. If they go into the story BEHIND their fear of ketchup, chances are they are opening up to you.
2. Discussing opinions and reasons for things in general. If they care enough that you know these things about them, they are probably opening up.
The above two definitions do depend, however. Here are other points to remember as well.
1. Observe what they talk to other people about. If they are the kind who USUALLY tell people everything about themselves, them doing the same with you is nothing special. “Opening up” would therefore have to involve much more important things than usual. If, however, they are the type who never even tell people the most insignificant things about themselves, then them sharing something about themselves is more meaningful even if it might not be something as major as the open-book variety of humans.
2. See how THEY view it. If they think of it as a big deal, even if it doesn’t quite seem to be, then they are really opening up. If, however, they seem to just be telling you random things to prove a point, or one-up you, or are being defensive about something– this is certainly not opening up.
If You Point Out Something About Their Face/Body, You Are A Jerk
“What’s that on your face?” “Why do you have dots on your face?” “You have a scar on your face” “You have marks on your arms” “Your fingers are weird”
OH FOR GOODNESS’ SAKE. Do you THINK that these individuals do not spend a significant part of their lives looking at themselves in the mirror? THEY KNOW about the thing on their face. THEY KNOW. Believe it or not, they totally noticed that about themselves. They know things about their own appearance infinitely better than you ever could. Don’t be a jerk; leave their appearance alone. Some people are really bothered by those blemishes that you rudely pointed out, and chances are they are in fact making an effort to get rid of them. Pointing it out is a d*ck move, man. It helps no one. I really don’t understand why someone would ever rudely point out something about someone that they obviously already know for no reason.
Leave Their Major Alone
Why would you give someone a hard time about their choice of major? Them having said major does not hurt anyone; it is their choice and it is significant that they are in college putting effort towards this choice of major in the first place. When people ask me my major, I prepare for a well-rehearsed winning defense because many people are so overly critical about such things. To some, this can be very annoying. To others, it can really hurt their confidence.
It is THEIR life. Let them do with it what they want. All the power to them for studying whatever it is that they are interested in.
Learn to Give An Answer, and Mean It
There are some people who say yes too much, and some people who say no too much. Then there are some people who say that they will think about it, but really they mean no. And then we’ve got everyone’s favorite, the people who just don’t answer at all. And then everyone’s REAL favorite, the ones who lie and say they will when they won’t, or vice-versa.
Learn to give an answer, and mean it. If you don’t want to do something, then don’t do it– but DO NOT allow the asker to think that you intend to do it. I don’t care how you go about it, but give an answer and stick to it. People will think that you are lazy, cowardly, rude, or other unfortunately applicable descriptive words in reaction, and you will lose your credibility.
Don’t Be Afraid to Talk To People
“But he’s too good to be friends with me” “Why would she ever wanna talk to me?” “she’s so out of my league” “But I’ll just annoy him”
No. This is college; this is not a Teen Nick show. In college, anyone can be friends with anyone. Just look around campus and you will see.
Don’t be afraid to talk to people– just go and talk to them, and do this as soon as possible. Why? Because this is Community College, and soon enough they are going to leave and you’ll be sad that you missed out on a chance to connect with them on some level. It does not matter how cool or intimidating you or your friends think that this person is; make an effort to talk to them if only to not regret your silence later. At best, you become friends with them or start a relationship with them. At worst, they get annoyed with you and you are no worse off than you were before when you never talked to them at all. In fact, chances are you are better off– now you do not have to live life wondering what might’ve happened if you’d decided to simply talk to them.
Go ahead and say hi to them after class. Send them a Facebook message or a text WITHOUT finding a set reason to talk to them, and just see what happens if only to just see what happens.
Remember To Say Hello And Good-Bye
You know what hurts? When someone takes off without saying good-bye. It makes one feel insignificant, used, and downright hurt. People do not like to feel insignificant, used, and downright hurt. If you make them feel like this, you are being thoughtless or oblivious, and that is unfortunate. Make an effort to say good-bye to people, whether you were hanging out with them or just swinging by to pick up a book that you lent them. Even if you are in a hurry, a quick wave and a smile will suffice– make an effort to be polite. On the other side, say hi to people. It will show that you are friendly and approachable, and it will make the other people feel recognized.
Say The Thing
If you were a book character or movie character, and you were watching yourself as this character, would you want you to say the thing?
Yes. You would. You’d probably get irritated or disappointed with the writers if the thing wasn’t said.
Well guess what? You choose your lines in your life story. Take advantage of the fact that you have the ability to say the thing.
People fear telling people things because they fret over potential reactions. Then they regret not saying what they wanted to say in the long run.
Just say the thing.
Now, I’m not talking in-the-moment, rush of emotion, not thought out random outbursts that you will regret later. I am referring to the thing that you have been wanting to say for quite a while, but never had the courage or will to.
You want to tell your friend that they are awesome? Say it. You want to tell that person that you have feelings for them? Say it. Do you appreciate that they helped you with something? Say so. Do they do something that bothers you? Say that, too.
Now, I suggest not being rude or inappropriate about it. CERTAINLY make an effort not to be creepy. But know that it will feel better once you say the thing. And guess what? It’s probably better for them that you said it, as well. Do not allow unsaid words to weigh down your very being; the ghosts of missed chances and the sinking feelings of “what ifs” to haunt your memory.
Don’t Act Like You Are Better Than Everyone
Unless you are Sherlock Holmes, acting like you are better than everyone automatically makes you despicable in most people’s eyes. I’m not saying that you should not be confident; I am saying don’t be unbearably arrogant in a rude manner. I’m also not saying that you can’t be fake-arrogant– It’s okay to jokingly answer “because I’m awesome” to questions about yourself and so-on. It is not okay to do so in a condescending manner, however.
Oftentimes, arrogant people have nothing to be arrogant about. They act like they are better than everyone, but have nothing really admirable about them. This likely stems from inner feelings of lack of worth, or an exaggerated ego, or both. If this may be you, make an effort to be humble. Hone some skills, and show them off by example when it is necessary to do so; not by being arrogant about them. Nobody likes someone who thinks that they are better than everyone, but obviously is not. A little humility goes a long way– and hey, if you act like a decent human being, chances are you will become what you really yearned to be.
If you actually ARE better than everyone (or think that you are, in your head) this is perfectly fine. You are probably awesome as heck. However, don’t behave like you are better than everyone, because people will become annoyed with your sense of entitlement and self-importance, even if it is warranted. Make an effort to be the type of person that others enjoy being around, because they feel just as amazing as you are when they are around you. If you are unbearably arrogant, you will lose credibility even if it you deserve it for other reasons. Let people decide that you are awesome on their own terms; don’t shove it in their faces.
No one enjoys spending time with someone that they feel rotten around; no one has fun with people who do nothing but infuriate them.
Remember That Your Problems Are Your Problems
Some people make everything about themselves, and then they turn around and make their problems YOUR problems. You may be guilty of this, and not even know it. Many people who behave like this are lonely and want attention, and so they try to make their problems become your problems to “test if you care” about them. These people are not looking for advice, and if you attempt to give them some they will likely become defensive and resistant to accepting it. All they want is you to give them a pity-party, because it makes them feel good to be “cared about.” Really, it can be draining for the people that they know, and does nothing to help either of you. Worse, if you decide to humor these people just a few times, they will decide that you can be their go-to for feelings of temporary happiness and can then guilt you into acknowledging them over and over. They may try to make you feel like you are not a good friend if you don’t baby them, or make you feel like if you do not listen to them, they will do something drastic.
Please, try not to be this person. It is not healthy for either party to be involved in this. If you behave like this, you will find difficulty creating friendships and you may trap the other person in a situation they do not want to be involved in. If you really want attention, just try to be a friend. Friendships should not be all about one person taking, taking, taking and never offering anything in return. If you have a problem, OWN the problem and address it thus. If you need help, try asking for genuine advice instead of looking for sympathy. If you are feeling bad about yourself, consider going to a counselor instead of looking to other people for temporary happiness. Simply remember that your problems are your problems, and therefore it is your responsibility to handle them or seek help handling them– don’t drop them on other people.
Love At First Sight Does Not Exist
…nononononono don’t x-out this tab now. Hear me out. Also, please note that this is my personal opinion, and you are obviously free to accept it or dis it accordingly.
Love is not what most people think that it is. People confuse love with feelings of attraction– and these are not the same things.
When one experiences “love at first sight,” what they are really experiencing is attraction at first sight. Sure, it may seem adorable when your friend says that they’ve loved that guy/girl they like since “the moment they laid eyes on them,” but this completely and utterly impossible.
Because love takes time to develop. Love is not something that can happen at first sight, because in order to love a person, you have to know a person enough to be able to accept them. You must be able to see a person clearly, with all of their strengths and all of their weaknesses, all of their flaws and all of their greatness– view a whole person who is a person just like you are– and see how they are and like them anyway. Love is when you would care about a person even if you did not find them physically attractive; when you would be content simply spending time with them even if they did not want to start a relationship with you. When you care about THEM and not only about a craving for what you feel when you are around them. You love them as a person, and you are not using them to fill empty parts of you. You feel that your life is better with them in it, but they are not your entire life.
You cannot love someone at first sight, because it takes more than one look to know what you really think and feel about someone. Love at first sight? More like lust.
When you think that you are experiencing “love at first sight,” you are actually experiencing attraction at first sight. Just because you are attracted to someone does not mean that you love them. Now, sometimes, one can experience attraction at first sight and go on to create a successful relationship with them anyway– and that’s okay. It’s certainly possible to fall in love with someone that you were initially only attracted to (although do remember that it all started because, being a human with inclinations for attraction to good genes due to the fact that humans are supposed to reproduce, you became attracted to nothing more than the fact that they by chance ended up born to be a good-looking person). More commonly, though, one will catch a bad case of infatuation.
Infatuation is not love. It is commonly mistaken for love, but it isn’t. Infatuation is commonly based on attraction to the other person’s appearance, but can also arise due to attraction to the person as an individual. Unlike with love, however, infatuation can be harmful and tends to end badly. When one is infatuated, they WANT a person because they like how the person makes them feel inside. They use the person to fill the holes in their being that they should be working on themselves. They crave the person, and put them on a pedestal because they are unable to really view them as a person. They see the person how they want to see them, and see the situation how they want to see it. They can’t love the person, because they are not seeing the person for how they really are. Infatuation is not about the “object of your desire”– it is all about you. When someone starts a relationship based on infatuation, the initial good-feeling obsession will eventually fade and the person will be left with someone who they never loved– they loved the idea of. They might realize that they only got with this person because of feelings of lust, and/or feelings of “wow, this attractive person wants to be with ME? Yay!” and then be able to see the person for who they really are. When you “fall” for an idea of someone, you may be in for a surprise when you discover that they are not how you dreamed that they were.
People who are infatuated tend to convince themselves that it is love. They convince themselves that if they work at it, a relationship with the person that they are obsessed with can work out. That they can “fix” the person and that the person is still the one that they “love,” intentionally overlooking what could be problematic, or that if they bend over backwards for the person, everything will work out. They become desperate, desperate to do anything to HAVE that person. This isn’t love. One must remember that if they make a person the center of their life, they have to be careful not to lose any semblance of a life to put them at the center of.
Would you still “love” them if they didn’t look the way that they do? Would you want to have a family with them? Grow old with them? Would you still care about them if you didn’t have feelings for them? If they didn’t want to be with you, would you still want to be friends with them? Or would you get angry because you want THEM and not their companionship? Do you like them, or do you want to mold them to be a person who you like?
It isn’t wrong to be attracted to someone. However, if attraction becomes a life-ruining obsession, there is something amiss. Look for a meaningful relationship with a person that you actually see as an individual, accept for how they are, and love them anyway. You cannot recognize love without learning to accept a person– therefore, love at first sight does not exist. And you know what? I think that’s beautiful.