Notes to Self #2

I have clearly forgotten all the really helpful notes to self I had written for myself sometime last year. Because I am back to square one: brooding about asinine but practically insignificant comments people made, unacceptable friendship behavior (to me), analyzing why people do what they do and trying to give them the benefit of doubt, thinking too much about a royal ignore a colleague who actually I don’t care about one bit gave. I am falling into the unfruitful, dangerous tunnel of thinking in the same loop over and over again about the same insufferable people. Which is why a second dose of some pep-talk and some sound knocking sense into self becomes inevitable. No. Mandatory.

So I am not good at dealing with petty behavior. All you really need to do in such cases is give it the exact amount of importance it deserves: petty. But no, I have to go down the memory lane trying to replay events in my head to evaluate. So the first note to self is STOP and then focus on the following.

Can’t make everyone happy all the time

and shouldn’t even try. Because if it hasn’t worked thus far, chances are at no point in my life will every single person I interact with even briefly will be happy with me. Also, realize that I don’t really want to make people happy as a goal in itself, but it’s what I think will serve my ultimate goal of personal peace and happiness. But trying to please other people is the wrong method for that. Learning to ignore people is more likely to help me succeed in my ultimate goal.

Don’t overshare

Had included this in some form or the other in previous notes as well, but it’s really important to someone like me. Contain over enthusiasm, at least in the first few weeks/months of knowing a person. Don’t act like a hungry dog when you think you finally found someone you can get along with. Wait it out till the honeymoon period is over and the other person has had ample opportunity to show their true colors. Sometimes, this comes really really late. So it’s perhaps best to wait till you experience at least one alarming incident and then take a call on whether you’re going to be fine with it.

Be comfortable with the uncomfortable

I have realized my phobia about being in uncomfortable situations, mostly at work really. It’s probably from here that I don’t make my positions of things clear, and try not to tell much about my real thoughts. However, people are generally not shy of expressing shamefully regressive and downright ridiculous thoughts just about anywhere. And they probably assume that I must feel the same because most people around them do, they just make horrifyingly narrow-minded blanket statements on things that are too nuanced for that. So I should start to at least voice my discontent if not get into an argument. And once I do, I need to be fine with the idea that people’s opinion of me might change. Because frankly, people with such opinions and principles that are so opposed to mine would anyway never be my friends. I am very open to points of view other than my own, but I expect them to be well balanced and logical at the very least. I can never be fine with people saying things like women should stay at home, and I’ll never accept or respect this as another point of view.

So go sum it up, it’s okay if people don’t smile back or don’t do small talk. Actually, even better. Because I hate small talk.

Don’t let people get too comfortable with you

This is specifically for workplaces. I believe that the best way to be at a workplace is polite and cordial, but non committal. People don’t need to know anything about your personal life, choices, how good/bad your marriage is, how close you are to your family. But I don’t mean that you altogether kill the idea of ever finding a friend at work. Just that tread lightly. Observe, try to make sense of the dynamic. Basically, be patient before dolling out huge friendly smiles to everyone.

This is very important, else people are generally more than happy to give free advice. So if you have been slightly aloof, nobody can really say that your reaction for unsolicited advice was uncalled for.

Don’t try to change yourself too much

I think we all keep readjusting our personalities to our surroundings. We don’t really really make fundamental changes to our sense of being, but little things, or new habits really that help us belong to a new place. But I have realized that I actually need to be a little more inflexible in this area. I tend to be too accommodating at times, and end up feeling bad if that is not reciprocated. This also makes me have a low opinion of myself. Not anymore. I have decided to be more upfront about what I really want. It’s okay to say no. And I need to start doing this more often. I tend to say no easily to people I really care about, like my family. And for some odd reason reserve the Yes Man attitude for people I don’t even care about. Immediate need for reversal of that.

I think that’s it for now. I don’t want to overburden myself with too many things to watch out for.

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10 comments

  1. With you on the over-enthusiasm. I have learned to be mindful about the other notes you have written over time. Yes, the honeymoon period still sometimes causes heartburn. Good luck with finding a balance. You will get there and the angst will lessen because the tough part of figuring out where the problems lie you have already taken care of. But, I do wonder from your last point: what it is about work places that makes people behave differently? Is this to say that they don’t know about friendship or they are not good friends with people outside of work? Most likely they also do have friends. Then why visit such damage upon people who are colleagues?

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    1. Oh my last point just reminded me about Moncia Lewinsky and Linda Tripp. That was definitely one example of a work friendship having horrendous repercussions. Gosh.

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    2. I really hope to find some balance. But that will never be over I think. It’s a continuous process. I need to remind myself of it every now and then.

      I think in friendship there is no competition (not at the basic premise anyway). That can never happen in a workplace. I think no matter what your role is, people will always view you as competition. I wonder if these colleagues also feel threatened by people who are different. I think it forces them to readjust themselves to what seems like a “new setting” to them, and makes them aggressive all of a sudden.

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  2. I could have very well written this letter to myself..
    The workplace is such a tricky area and it gets difficult..

    “the boy” taught me – “how better fences make better neighbors”
    This is so true.. and I think we keep crossing that every now and then esp at work..
    I think it is the environment and the way it makes feel competitive and ruthless. Whatever you say and share can be used against you. This is life I think. We as humans are designed to think about “survive and thrive” and thats what makes us do these things.. Sadly..

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    1. Great policy! “Better fences, better neighbours”. Love it. I’m going to make an extra effort to be that.

      I wondering if this is much easier for guys. The husband is on really good terms with everyone at his office, but no one knows nothing about him, and vice-versa.

      One more thing I need to stop doing is aping people’s reaction to make them feel better. The other day a friend and I were discussing this. How we fall into our own traps because we can’t control how reactions. I, for example, say a very energetic Hiiii to people if they say that to me. It will never come to me naturally. But I feel the need to reciprocate their energy as form of respect.

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  3. Okay, I have learned the hard way to contain my enthusiasm about new friendships. It’s a hard thing to do, but always pays off in the long run, especially if you are, well, me!

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    1. @anawnimiss: I couldn’t agree more. I have been in trouble over and over again because if my over enthusiasm, which wears of pretty quickly, but the after effects remain forever. You’d think that I’d learn from experience, but it seems like I am incorrigible in this department. 😦

      Thanks for commenting on this post, it’s high time I revisited my gyaan to self. It’s much needed right now.

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