Before we begin, please let me know asap if I'm beginning to sound like a Buzzfeed article. That is not a legacy I wish to continue. Also, Is this blog inspired by wait but why? Maybe? Get off my back.
[Click this if you want to skip me calling you out on your bullshit, and become a decent person]
So, here’s the thing:
Humanity gives itself far too much credit than it deserves.
If our history of rampant genocide, slave-trade, colonization and ever-present, ongoing wars did not prove that to you, then you’re probably part of the problem.
But let us deviate from the stuff that keeps us awake at night and focus on common folk, like you and I, who have neither the time or the power to act like idiots, and yet.
Not only have we said phrases like “Listen… I’m not [bigoted ideology], but… [promptly says something bigoted]”, and felt the need to constantly create conflict to make our lives interesting, but we have done so without proper research. We don’t even fact-check our assholery! Who does that?
Aren’t humans supposed to be the apparent apex predators of the new world? Haven’t the smartest percentage of our population provided us commoners with all the resources to live up to our hype?
So why are we still eating laundry detergent in 2018?
I have been a lot more removed from society over the past two years and spent extended periods of time in introspection to analyse my past behaviour and define the kind of person I am today. The result of that was an anxiety-riddled, low on self-esteem, alarmingly inexperienced 22-year old – because clearly, I do not handle failure well – but I’d choose woke me over asshole me any day.*
The problem that accompanied this, was that while I tried my best to evolve into a better person, I expected everyone else to have taken this journey as well. However, a surprising amount people remained ratchet and blind to their ignorance to a point where I felt like we were two completely different species. It was… appalling, to say the least that these people may have never wondered about the consequences of their actions. Or maybe they had, and decided it was too painful to continue down that path. Which is just sad, really.
So, I believe it is time to pull up our Adult pants, take a deep breath and evaluate our actions over the past, say, five years, to see if we have devolved back to Neanderthal psychology with our utter lack of self-awareness. Then, we need to change the standard of what being socially acceptable is.
Note that, as an inexperienced 22-year-old, I’m not giving solutions to be good people. That is not what this blog is about. It is to be okay people, the non-dickheads, the ones who are not that shitty person at parties who plagues everywhere they go with their bitter negativity because they think it’s cool. So if anyone has an issue with the whole snowflake-millennial trope, bear in mind that I’m not asking you to be nice, because I do not expect that of you. I’m asking you to be not bad, which should not be as hard as it apparently is.
Here are 3 things that can prevent you, or your friend from becoming complete human disasters. There may be a part 2, because this is a long-ass post already.
1. Shush for like, 5 seconds.**
This is like asking you to win a Boss battle when you’ve rolled a meager 7 for strength and 5 for wisdom. It’s impossible, and the DM that is your conscience will heave a defeated sigh and begin describing in detail how the Boss delivers critical hits every time it flicks you away with its pinky-finger and you end up squished under its palm and great, now you’ve exposed your party and screwed them over, good job, Jared. Cue the slow clap.
The point is, it’s not easy, but. Statistically, people who talk less are less likely to spew garbage out of their mouths in an attempt to sound smart. We’ve all met these people. We have all been these people. Hell, I was this person yesterday and by god did I hope for someone to duct-tape my mouth before I even entered the room.
There are a lot of unsolicited, immovable opinions involved, accompanied by a pissing contest on who holds the higher social ground in this meeting that no one but you thinks is a competition to prove your worth. It is also a blanket to your relatively narrow mind and fragile self-esteem that refuses to shatter and let you grow as a person.
Remember, that if you want a one-way conversation to keep listening to the sound of your voice, you can always talk to the walls in your room. It’s only the first sign of craziness, but you’ve probably done worse things at this point. If you want to have arguments disguised as problematic conversations, then you must also be prepared to lie in the grave you dug when the other person inevitably questions your weak foundations with facts that you did not research enough on.
So, as your brain short-circuits when you hear something mind-altering that you know deep down is right but cannot admit it because you’re chickenshit, please, for the love of god, instead of babbling something offensive and making it personal, take a deep breath and shut up for 5 seconds, minimum. Then process what they said, evaluate your next options and choose the one where you can gracefully admit to being wrong.
Now, the other person could be decent about it and explain to you why they think what they think and you guys have a nice discussion and ride away into the sunset together. Or the person is just you, but winning. In which case, shock them with your understanding nature and start listening to what they have to say. Since what you will hear would be absolute crap (because like I said, this person is you, but winning. And we have established that we are going through this article assuming we are crap), you will know what you sound like to other people and change your ways.
2. Leave ‘Edgelord’ in 2008, where it belongs.
Or as most people preach, but do not practice: If you have nothing nice to say, don’t say anything.
Humans, apparently do not have the balls to live without conflict. And although I get why to some extent, I believe it is entirely unnecessary for someone to be a Debbie Downer towards e v e r y t h i n g. We were this during our teenage phase, if you remember. Some of us grew out of shitting on everyone’s interests, while others did not.
To those who didn’t: Why are you festering hate when you could… I don’t know. Not?
It’s exhausting! And having pretentious, hipster opinions does not make you cool. It makes you sound like a pretentious hipster. You are not winning anything by disagreeing simply on the principle that you can, and you are certainly not getting any points for supporting problematic stuff because it’s “unconventional”, “edgy” and “ugh, happy people make me puke”. By being this person, you have done nothing to contribute to society except bring everyone’s moods down and therefore, you’re a piece of shit.
Let people enjoy their things without turning it into a debate all the time, you goddamn horseman of war. Jeez.
(And no, being a horseman of the apocalypse is only cool in theory. People die, asshat.)
3. l i s t e n
Or, well. If that’s not a thing you can do, take in sensory input more than whatever output you dump on society. But not like, sensory overload levels, that’s a headache and a half that no one deserves.
But you know what I mean right?
Take a moment to absorb your surroundings, be it by actually paying attention when someone talks or reading up on a clickbait article by using other sources of media (seriously, guys, fact-checking is the first rule of like, kindergarten). Educate yourself by taking in stimuli; it always comes in handy during Useless Trivia Time, which, frankly, is whenever.
What I’m trying to say is that we all talk a lot – and that’s okay-ish – but do not listen nearly enough, so like. What’s the point of communication? Have you heard your obscure relative (the creepy uncle. You know, that guy) talk a mile a minute about murky politics at 12000 decibel from your bedroom? Do you want to be that person in 10 years? I mean I know you’re excited to say the thing, and I encourage your excitement, but let’s allow others to get a word in edgewise yeah? Cool.
(Also, being attentive is quite like a superpower that enables you to cheekily hear conversations you weren’t supposed to. And then blackmail either party for it. Or not. But at least you know you have the real-estate for some solid blackmailing.)
If you have not noticed already, these suggestions are quite tightly interwoven with each other. So you need to simultaneously use all three for optimum, positive and constructive discussions with another human. Try to exercise the above tips a couple of times a day before interacting with someone, and watch if people visibly brighten the next time they see you.
* To those who knew Asshole Niharika in middle and high school, I’m sorry. You shouldn’t have had to go through that.
** Please note that I’m not telling anyone to stop talking entirely! I can see how this can be taken the wrong way and I do not want to be that person, but I’m specifically targeting those who are about as self-aware as the KKK.