Say some things much more frequently, such as:
“I appreciate it.”
This goes a lot further for many people than you’d imagine. It may seem pretty basic, but saying I appreciate it (or that) just conveys more of a genuine side than a simple (and often automatic) thank you. I find that I truly do appreciate what others do for me as I get older. You start to realize that, honestly, people are almost always out for themselves first and foremost. Just as Ricky Bobby’s dad said, “If you ain’t first, you’re last.” But in a society that centers around the race to the top, other people taking the time to make your day easier or better or even just less shitty is a moment you SHOULD truly appreciate. Let them know that–maybe you’ll make that person’s day, too.
“You are so sexy.”
Listen, I know I sound like a fruitcake saying this, but if you’ve ever had someone say this to you, no matter what the scenario was, you understand. Man or woman, gay or straight, up or down, having someone tell you directly that he or she is into you is a phenomenal occurrence. It can come from someone you’ve been with for three years or three weeks. Regardless, that feeling of being appreciated–and more importantly, utterly wanted–by someone else is intoxicating. Go on, tell someone how much that perfume or double-cuff sleeve roll turns you on.
“I don’t know.”
I’ve never been wrong in my life, so I can’t exactly empathize, but I’m working hard every day to sympathize with people who just don’t know everything. Sucks to suck, I guess. Really, though, we are a very proud, intelligent, and highly-saturated generation. We have all sorts of information at our disposal, which is phenomenal. Just PLEASE don’t be that asshole who pretends he or she has, in fact, accessed said resources on every topic that comes up in conversation. Fun fact: no one can argue against “I don’t know,” and saying that is a lot less humiliating than feverishly yelling about some shit that turns out to be completely incorrect. Have some humility and admit that you don’t know it all. When you say that, you tend to learn a lot more, anyway.
Be Grateful, Practice Gratitude
Since we all started from the bottom (read: middle class suburbia) and are now “here,” we all understand the hustle. I mean, we worked really hard all the way through graduation at that decent to great school our parents paid for. Shit was real. So maybe you really did struggle to get where you are. Everyone has a different perspective on things like that, but regardless of if your life story deserves to be on Humans of New York or you deserve a reality TV show, everyone has something to be grateful for. Whether it’s health, family, love, money, food, shelter, HBO GO, a nice landlord, or Chipotle, remind yourself that you are lucky because of _______. Yes, you definitely worked hard and ain’t nobody handin’ out no charity to you, but part of your circumstance is luck. You are lucky you weren’t born in a place where basic human rights are denied, rights like safety, freedom, and even water. Places without those “amenities” do exist. You are fortunate not to have to experience them firsthand. Maybe you are unfortunate in that you struggle with several other aspects of your life, but always try to find the (many or few) good things in your life and take a moment to be grateful for them. I mean, it’s been scientifically proven that practicing gratitude and making it a conscious thought improves your health in many ways, and for someone like me who doesn’t even own a gym membership, doing whatever else I can besides sweating and breathing heavily to stay “healthy” is a top priority. Namaste.
I personally can’t overstate the importance of empathy. If you have any shred of humanity in you, putting yourself in someone else’s shoes is one of the most eye-opening and humbling experiences. It’s those times where we feel furthest from all the people around us–whether they’re strangers or family–that we ostracize ourselves and lose sight of the fact that we are an interdependent, social species. Like, you can’t develop and function normally if you (literally) never intermingle with other humans. It can be hard to empathize with people you don’t relate to whatsoever, I get that, but try. Whether you believe their circumstances are of their own volition or not, they still suffer. Not so altruistic? Just imagine how you’d feel if your life sucked as much as someone way worse off than you. Just remember, for those times you’re having a really shitty day, week, or month, you most likely would hope that the people you interact with have been somewhere similar and therefore cut you some slack, or even go so far as to help you out. I know this is a revolutionary idea for the “boot strap” country, but I swear, a little bit goes a long way. Have mercy, you guys.
In the past year, I’ve spent approximately seven full hours being completely pissed off because someone wasn’t just shooting me straight. I don’t care if it’s the fuggin’ receptionist at my doctor’s office or my wannabe boyfriend, there is nothing worse than someone bullshitting you. For people our age, I think it’s exceptionally important. We spend half of our time trying to decipher what a “like” on any of our 37 social media platforms means, or why someone started typing a response and then stopped, or why someone didn’t call after the two-day hiatus in bed together. Frankly, I’m off it. I’m off it so hard. Just tell me the truth. I’d rather get a text saying you don’t want to hang out with me because I smell bad and have a terrible laugh than just hear crickets. I know everyone’s scared of a complete overreaction on the part of the other party, but, like, that’s what the blocking feature on the iPhone is for. I’ve used it once and I’ll use it again. Quit avoiding the slightly uncomfortable altercation and just be honest. For the love of Peyton, just be honest.
Be Well-Read And Well-Spoken
Muhammed is the most common name on Earth. Read a fucking book for once. Stop using “conversating,” and don’t mix up “your” and “you’re” or “their,” “there,” and “they’re.” No excuses = no ragrets.