Case of the Motivational Mondays- Avoiding Negativity Part III
Dressing colorfully always helps in life. ALWAYS!
This January I've been talking about negativity, or more specifically how to avoid it. Sometimes no matter how positive you are, negative people get in your way! Here's what I've learned from my personal interactions with less than pleasant people!
Sometimes people who are against you or at least don't have your best interests at heart are unavoidable. Friends of friends, friends of a significant other, coworkers, in-laws, etc...they're hard to get rid of! But this is both the trickiest and the easiest situation to deal with! It's tricky because you have to walk a fine line of being assertive without becoming the bad guy, but it's easy because taking the high road is the only option-and it's a good one. When I'm in a position where I feel like someone I can't avoid is treating me with a lack respect, I try to do the opposite by killing them with kindness. In fact, I think this can be a borderline fun tactic if you're in the right headspace about it. It's a game where it's basically win/win for you because you'll either get them to change their attitude towards you (win) or you at least never get your hands dirty and make them expose themselves as jerks without you stooping to their level (win). Watching them become disarmed and flustered is only a bonus!
My favorite time I employed this tactic was with an old neighbor of mine. I was living in a building where two buildings were conjoined and depending on your unit, your unit may face the other building. My unit was one of those that faced the opposite building. 4 years ago I had a huge birthday bash at my apartment. My birthday is at the end of September, which often means Indian summer here in Denver, and 4 year years ago was no exception. My apartment had a balcony attached to it, where naturally many of my party goers opted to hang out on there. Now, it was barely 10PM when a few of my friends let me know that there was a neighbor across the way "peeping down at us" and claiming to have called the cops. I went out to the balcony and shouted across the way, "Hey man, can I help you with something?" In this incredibly stern voice the guy shouted back, "You guys are too loud. I called the cops" I replied, "I'm really sorry. It's my birthday-you should come over if you like!" Then he got, well, I think hilarious by claiming that he in fact was a cop and therefore he couldn't join us. I smiled and said, "Well, I really don't think that's true but we can move the party inside-not a problem. Invitation to come over still stands!" And then I began to usher people back into my unit, hoping I called his bluff on him having already called the cops. Of course he wasn't bluffing and the cops did actually come! I did my best to negotiate with them in my hallway and but they begrudgingly said I had to relocate the party elsewhere after saying they felt bad because I was being so charming about the situation and because it was my birthday. (See, being nice always works...even if it doesn't get you exactly what you want!) Relocating the party wasn't a problem as I half anticipated this situation knowing this was going to be a big party, so we went to a bar down the street.
Later that week though, I was walking into the main building and the guy who called the cops was getting his mail (I had seen him on his balcony before, which is how I recognized him). I wasn't sure if he even knew who I was, but he looked at me, rudely rolled his eyes, and did his best to close the door behind him so I would have to use my key to get into the elevator lobby. I still made the elevator with him to which I asked him, "How are you today?" He didn't even look up from his mail when he grumbled, "Fine." I eyed him up and down and noticed he was a middle aged dude wearing jeans with bedazzled back pockets (as "cops" often wear while off duty and all). Game on, I thought. I can soooo win this guy over and this is going to be fun! Instead of having uncomfortable standstills every time we had to take the elevator together (which was surprisingly often), I made it known that I was not uncomfortable or even holding a grudge in the slightest and would relentlessly ask how his day was or other basic pleasantries. And why wouldn't I? He was a dude who just didn't like noise and ultimately gave me a "the cops shut down my birthday" story, thus enhancing my street cred, right? Finally I got him to actually converse with me when I unexpectedly hit a chord with him about a freaky weather change we were having-which made him surprisingly excited to talk about it. Over the next few months we had nothing but over the top nice conversations (and seemingly genuine), and I was somewhat bummed to learn that he was moving back to Georgia while talking about how humidity can mess with your hair. A few nights later after I learned he was moving, some kids in my building were partying at an actually ridiculous hour (3AM on a Tuesday) and they woke me up. While trying to go back to sleep I heard my newly befriended neighbor doing the same spiel about calling the cops on them that he did to me and I was happy to have someone in the building do my dirty work, and then got sad he was leaving.
Most of the time just being nice works in my world, at least after a while. But if doesn't and someone just won't let up being mean, rude, or aloof, you have to eventually not take it personal. I mean, think about it: if you're not an awful person you don't deserve to be treated poorly. And if someone isn't going to hear you out, forget that they hate you for at least a second or two here or there, or learn how to at least fake being nicer towards you, it means they have issues that go way deeper than whatever their issue with you may be. Maybe they're just not a nice person, period. If that's the case you're likely not the only one dealing with the wrath of that person. Knowing you can't take it personal is empowering.
But what about "not as in person" situations? We live in a world and time where a lot of our lives and interaction are not in real life as much as online. Hell, you guys wouldn't be reading this blog if it weren't for online interactions! It took me two back to back life changing break ups for me to realize sometimes you need to walk away from the Internet, or do what you can to conceal any incoming information about anyone that's not healthy for you to know about. Back in the day, I loved knowing any and everything about anyone on my Facebook feed. Even if I had a weird falling out with someone, I'd preferred to know what they were up to and it was kind of masochistic! 4 years ago I broke up with my longterm boyfriend. Honestly...it was one of those situations where I checked out of the relationship a bit before we split, then he shot himself in the foot by accidentally admitting to lying to me about a pretty big thing for our whole relationship, and so a breakup now had to happen and it was long overdue at that. We shared a group of friends (awkward and difficult-no matter how adult either or both parties are being) and he's a loud personality so I opted to hide him from my Facebook newsfeed. I reasoned that if I had to deal with him at mutual friend's birthday parties, I shouldn't be ambushed by him on a random Monday morning by accidentally seeing what he was up to over the weekend while I'm checking to see what actual friends had to say on the Newsfeed. And I have to say, it was an amazing to have that buffer and put him a little bit out of sight and out of mind. A few months later I found myself in another relationship, but this one was the best connection of my life. I'll save the breakup story for a month when I cover relationship woes and how to get over them, but basically I broke up this guy as well... but I was hardly the heartbreaker (it just had to be done). To this day, that was the only time in my entire life that I can honestly say I was crying because I was heart broken. Any other tears and frustrated feelings over boys before and since have been way closer to my ego being hurt than my heart breaking. To this day I have never once looked him up on Facebook or on any other social media. I am beyond not interested in knowing what he is up to. Why? Because both learning that he is doing amazing and about to be married or even sad to the point of being suicidal would mess with my head, and I just don't need that in my life! Between these two back to back break-ups and the different reasons I had with needing at least an arm's distance between them and their online pages, I learned how it's just preferable and easier to not torture yourself beyond necessary. Both situations left a lot of emotional residue for various reasons as both situations were messy and eventually ugly. But had I been fixated on "knowing what they were up to"-accidental or on purpose-I think I'd be likely still messed up from those situations!! This now applies to anyone who bothers or departs my life; my social media blinders go up so I'm not inundated with any additional intel about them than I already have.
Like I said, this applies to all human interactions. Have you had a bitter falling out with a friend? Don't look them up. Someone in your family driving you crazy? Just hide them from your newsfeed. Now, Facebook is way easier to hide without deleting people than other social media platforms. And if you must use this function, their block feature is unbeatable. There's people I love deeply that drive me crazy on sites that are not Facebook, due to incessant posting, borderline fake proclamations, or just not being happy with them and our current relationship despite that I love them. The way I look at those situations are kind of like how I look at life in general: pay as little attention to the crappy stuff as possible!! I've actually trained my eyes to just blur over any photos, usernames, or comments connected to the ones I'm unhappy with and keep scrolling so I can stay in my happy place. This may have not been the case a few years ago, but I officially never feel a temptation to click on anyone's profile or look further in any capacity about someone who is not bringing positivity into my world. It sounds simple, and possibly unattainable, but it's really effective. Your brain is the most magical thing you own and you can train it to avoid unnecessary information. Now whenever a friend tells me in real life something about someone I don't want to know about, I realize I now have virgin ears because I'm like, Why are you telling me this? Don't ruin my bubble! That was SO not a need to know fact!
In short, kill with kindness in real life. You'll walk away a winner no matter what. And if you still are having issues dealing with mean people IRL or online, don't take it personal and/or be an ostrich as much as humanly possible. Redirect your focus as much as possible! You'll soon get into the habit of doing that and it'll be second nature to you!
I have one more post on this topic tomorrow because I skipped two weeks ago, but it's a short and fun one! Hope everyone had a fun Monday!
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