Tag Archives: rejection

You Are Not A Casserole

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Hello, you fabulous human being.  How’s this week been for you?  Busy?  Me too.  Put your feet up for a bit.

One of the most enjoyable experiences in life is the overheard conversation snippet.  You know the sort of thing: you’re walking past a couple of friends who are in the middle of an in depth chat, and as you pass you hear one of them say something insane like “…and then the whole thing went bright blue!”  Not knowing the context of a conversation can make for very confusing and amusing listening.

The other day I was sitting outside a pub with a couple of my lovely girl friends, discussing life, the universe and everything (i.e. boys).  Don’t get me wrong – my friends and I cover many fascinating and intelligent topics of conversation on a regular basis, but even the most sassy and savvy of us occasionally need to rant about the opposite sex.  On this occasion, one of my friends was asking for advice about a guy she thinks she’s dating, but isn’t sure.  Here is an extract from the discussion:

“He’s going to house-sit with me at the weekend, and he took me out for an amazing dinner, and he calls me “his girl”…”
“Well, that sounds promising.”
“Yeah, really promising.”
“But what does it MEAN?!”

And so on and so forth.  Despite being clever, worldly, independent and hopefully fairly likeable young women, my friends and I are still flummoxed by what men’s behaviour “means” more often than we’d like to admit.  We have all – including you, fabulous reader – learned a lot during our short stays on Earth so far, including our strengths, weaknesses and alcohol tolerance levels.  Why then have we not learned something very simple, something that even tiny children understand: that we only get answers by asking questions?

It’s not as easy as all that, I know.  And we’ve talked about this before: the importance of being emotionally honest even though it feels so alien to us, the terror we feel when we have to be frank about what we want, and the excruciating embarrassment we feel about having strong feelings at all.  Needing an answer from someone, whether they’re male or female, has somehow started to mean that we are needy full stop.  Not to the person we’re confused about, necessarily, but definitely in our own heads.  And so we don’t ask; we just stew.

What the conversation boiled down to – if you’ll excuse the appalling pun – is that stewing does nobody any good.  In the heat of our debate about the virtues of honesty and openness, I ended up declaring “YOU ARE NOT A CASSEROLE” to my lovely, confused friend.  At that precise moment an unfortunate young man walked past and gave us a very strange look.  I do not blame him in the slightest.  Context was particularly important there.

But my point stands: we are not casseroles.  We should not leave ourselves to stew in the pressure cookers of uncertainty, waiting for the vegetables of heartbreak and the dumplings of rejection to descend into our lives.  The happiest people I know are not the ones who never get broken up with, rejected or hurt.  They are the ones who save themselves a lot of time by asking questions, finding out what other people want from them and getting on with life in the aftermath, whatever the outcome is.  I know – BELIEVE me, I know – that asking people questions like “how do you see our relationship?” etc. is a daunting prospect, but if we don’t ask we won’t find out.  If we don’t find out, we are wasting our time.

And who on earth has got time to waste?  Not you, that’s for sure.

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Ours is Not to Question Why

Good morning and happy Monday, you marvellous creature!

We like to understand things, don’t we?  We like to have a firm grasp of the whys and the wherefores, the cause and the effect.  Religion, science and Wikipedia all exist because the human race is obsessed with finding stuff out.

This extends, somewhat inevitably, to our personal lives: why did that relationship fail?  What made that friend drop out of contact?  Why didn’t the guy/girl we met last week call us when they said that they would?

We want to know the reasons behind emotionally affecting incidents because we think that they reflect upon us.  We think that if were were taller, better looking or more amusing that our emotional lives would be incredibly easy.  For insecure and unhappy people in particular, there is a very strong temptation to latch on to these upsetting circumstances as an excuse to highlight personal inadequacies: “Obviously the reason he never called is because I’m no good at small talk.”  “She probably thought I was being arrogant.”  “He could tell that I always put empty milk bottles back in the fridge.”  Obviously, this is not the case (except the milk bottle thing, which of course we can all sense at twenty paces).

Let’s be honest: sometimes we could have said or done more to make a situation better; we could have made more of an effort to be the best versions of ourselves.  But if we weren’t being our best selves with someone, don’t you think that there might be a reason for that?  When you really want a friendship or relationship to work, you want to be the best you can be for the other person involved.  If you’re not being that version, then you ought to think about why that is.

Conversely, we shouldn’t think too much about why other people behave the way they do.  We can’t do anything about it, and we can’t change people’s minds about us.  Sometimes it is very difficult to let go of a situation that you don’t entirely understand: “I’m still not sure why she broke up with me.”  “He just stopped texting; I thought it was going so well.”  “We’d been friends for years, and then we just lost touch for no reason.”  The sad thing is that – pretentious Shakespeare reference alert – “man is a giddy thing”, and sometimes people disappear on you.  They shouldn’t, because you’re wonderful, but they do.

And this is my point: if you’re going to question why something might be, don’t waste time worrying about other people’s motives.  Question yourself instead – you’re far more likely to get answers.  Don’t obsess over what that nice guy you met (but never heard from) didn’t like about you, or why your girlfriend suddenly decided that she preferred your best friend.  They’ve made their choices, and you may never get to find out why they behaved the way they did.  What you can find out is how you feel about things, why you behave the way you do, and what kind of relationships you are looking for in life.

On a far less serious (and much more adorable) note, here is a picture of a little girl seeing a penguin for the first time:

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Have a brilliant day.  I hope that you get to wear your favourite shoes.

Phone Off for Friday

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Good morning!  It’s finally Friday!  And it’s sunny!  What did we do to deserve such good fortune?  I don’t know.  Let’s just enjoy it.

I have decided to turn my phone off for 24 hours, as of 9am today.  On the one hand, this is a pretty big decision that will have an impact on my ability to contact people, check the time and look up travel plans, but on the other hand, it’s just a phone and it’s not going to kill me.  Let me walk you through this seemingly random decision, and then see whether you might want to do the same thing:

Distraction
My friend Andy told me recently that I seem to be really, really busy for someone who doesn’t go to work.  And he’s right.  (Let’s brush over the fact that I tend to work in my pyjamas, ok?)  The point is that I genuinely do have stuff to get on with, and having my phone on my desk is just a distraction.  You’re a  busy person with a lot of stuff to do too, aren’t you?  Exactly.  Imagine how much more efficiently you could work without your phone in the corner of your eye.

Responsibilities
Speaking of work, lots of my friends have several email, Twitter and Facebook accounts synced on their phones (because of all the theatre company stuff we get up to, you see), so whenever anything happens on one of those, we feel the need to respond immediately. However, I have made a life-changing discovery: we don’t have to do that.
If your work comes down to email messaging (i.e. you’re not a doctor, fire fighter, etc.), then it’s really not that urgent.  Don’t be fooled into thinking that you have to work at the same speed as technology all of the time.  You don’t have to stop walking in the middle of the street to reply to a message, or halt a pleasant conversation to check your emails.

Social Skills
Which leads me neatly on to the next problem I have with phones: what the crap have they done to our social skills?  It has now become acceptable to get out your phone and tinker with it if you are in a large group conversation, feeling a bit shy or just bored while your friend is talking to you.  (I have a friend who does that quite a lot, and I won’t name and shame, but you know who you are.  Stop doing that.)

Rejection
There’s a bit in the first Bridget Jones book where she complains about the passive-aggressive role of the telephone in dating, i.e. that getting home to find messages on your machine means that you are loved, beautiful and popular, whereas having no messages means that you will die alone and be eaten by Alsations.
Sometimes we have the same problem with mobiles, don’t we?  The immediate response thing is an emotional issue as well as a work one: when our friends and beloveds don’t reply to texts straight away we feel wounded and wronged.  Let’s take a day off from that.

Rebellion
I’ve just started reading the His Dark Materials trilogy, and it strikes me that we tend to see our mobile phones the same way the characters in the novels see their daemons: embodiments of our souls which we cannot emotionally or physically bear to be parted from.  They’re not.  They’re just phones.
I know that mobile technology makes life a lot easier, but I also know that I was perfectly fine for fourteen years before I even heard of mobile phones.  Our phones do not rule our lives or define who we are.  We exist without our phones, and we are actually far more interesting without our faces glued to them.

Have a record-breakingly good Friday.