One of my greatest life lessons came from my dad when I was a shitty teenager. I was trying to get out of cleaning my disgusting room by saying (very calmly, I’m sure) something to the effect of: “But Dad, I’m just not good at cleaning my room. I’ll never be someone who is good at keeping spaces tidy.” He called bullshit with a notion that still resonates with me to this day: “Best, the world is entropic by default. Maintaining order is hard work for everyone. It’s not some talent certain people have; it’s about taking action. Go clean your damn room.”
As a teenager who knew everything – including the meaning of entropy, thanks to 10th grade physics – I found this information useless and annoying. I thanked him like any shitty teenager would: by scowling, blaring Good Charlotte, and passive-aggressively stomping around my room as I reluctantly cleaned it.
Years later, however, I still hear his words. The world is entropic by default. Chaos is inevitable unless we take action to maintain order. You know that guy who leaves the shopping cart in the middle of the parking spot because he didn’t feel like walking 20 feet to the cart corral (that is a wild guess – I have no idea what that thing is called)? Maybe he knows that’s not the right thing to do, but doesn’t care. Maybe he was in a hurry so he left it but felt bad about it afterward. Maybe he is one of those assholes who thinks “It’s someone’s job to collect the shopping carts. Go buy yourself somethin’ nice, cart boy.” Maybe he is completely oblivious. Whatever the situation behind it, his inaction created disorder which in turn created more work for someone else.
We have all encountered that guy in various settings. We all have also been that guy to someone at some point. Inevitably, we will be that guy to someone perhaps without even knowing it. Inaction feeds chaos, which sucks because inaction is usually the easiest option we have. “Ghosting”; “haunting”; not being up-front about your intentions; matching but letting it expire; all of these are shitty dating behaviors rooted in inaction we would all like to end.
The bad news: there is no end to it. No one is going to do the right thing every time. Furthermore, not everyone wants to do the right thing every time. Humans are self-serving creatures with a finite capacity for energy. We can only afford to invest energy into the priorities important to us, leaving little room for those not as important to us. If one of your priorities is being a transparent, respectful communicator to everyone you meet, regardless of whether or not you want to pursue a relationship with them, that’s great. You’re probably a good person. Know that not everyone places that same priority at the same level you do, but that doesn’t necessarily mean everyone else is bad.
We cannot change how others act; we can only control how it affects us. It goes back to that quote one of your coworkers definitely has on a sticky note on her monitor: “Life is 10% what happens to you and 90% how you respond to it.” So you got ghosted. I promise it isn’t because he/she hates you or because you are not worthy of respect. It is a cheap move by someone who hasn’t allocated the time and energy to act on breaking it off respectfully. It’s simply not a priority of theirs to do so. It still hurts, and it still sure as hell can feel like a personal attack. You can do some self-edification if you’re interested in preventing it from happening in the future (side note: If you do figure that out, please let me know), but ultimately, if you take one on the chin, pick up and move on. It’s a waste of time trying to figure out why they did what they did (or didn’t do), and an even bigger waste of time to try and change their mind. They have their reasons, and you need to accept that their reasons may not always make sense to you.
The world is cruel, chaotic, and full of self-serving individuals. Not everyone is going to treat you fairly. Of course, if you prioritize treating others fairly, most people will like you and be inclined to be good to you. In terms of dating, holding yourself to a high standard of morality often means holding your partner to a similar standard. Having good morals is immensely rewarding in many ways. However, if you feel the world owes you, regardless of how you treat others, you will be disappointed very quickly.
Entropy fucks with everything you will ever do. Your morality, your job performance, your health, your car maintenance. Entropy gets in there and just fucks it all up. Just like keeping your room clean, keeping up with the emails in your inbox, or eating healthy and exercising, being good to others requires constant work. You will benefit by putting in the work to treat people well, but also beneficial is the understanding that everyone embodies that shitty teenager sometimes, and there is not much we can do about it, which is actually quite a relief. .
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