AKA: What I Learned in My Twenties: Don’t Trust Strangers and Try Not to Piss People Off.
“I’d rather be in a corner by myself with a puppy and a goldfish and be happy than have somebody sitting in my house and I’m wondering what the hell they’re there for.”
I’m not really a big Tyler Perry person, but this is good. It’s more of an interrelated point than what I’m talking about, but what I learned during my twenties is that most of the people in your life are temporary. Treat people as if they’ll be long term associations in terms of kindness toward them, but as for investing yourself, your secrets, and your future, make them work for it. Keep up an air of mystery and see if they project who they think you are onto you, or if they’re actually interested and/or capable of getting to know you. It sucks that my advice about people boils down to be wary, but, eh.
We’re all frightened wild beasts, you just need to find members of your own genus…or you need to find those little birds that’ll pick the crap out of your teeth…also you sometimes need to be someone’s tooth-picking bird. All this advice is pretty basic, but here we go:
These are people you have had a mutually beneficial relationship with for a long period of time, consider this the “proven success” box. You call each other on each other’s mistakes, and generally help each other progress in life. If somebody in this box needs $200 and you have it, you’re going to lend it to them, and they’re going to pay you back when they can.
PROTIP: Be careful about bouncing your romantic relationships up here. For some reason I thought it was funny to do this to myself until like, last year. I don’t know really know when it’s officially appropriate to move romantic partners in this box, but just be more cautious than I was about this, because you can get involved in some pretty complicated and long-lasting hells this way.
This is where you put most of people in your life, they’re not all you’re friends, really, but you don’t have anything against them. Think of it as being kind of like a “trust pool” rather than a box. You have the shallow end, these people aren’t really your friends so much as people you don’t have anything against…
In the shallowest part you have people that you see on a regular basis, and you’re both nice to each other, but it doesn’t really go deeper than that. Maybe you chat up the mail-man or a customer, and might even know a few things about them, but you’re not really discussing traumatic events with them or loaning each other money, either.
Then the pool gets a little deeper, there’s probably the most people toward the middle, and you know? Most people are fine chilling out here. If somebody seems happy in the middle, don’t push them elsewhere. Just let them be happy there.
Let people start out in the shallow part of the pool, don’t go throwing people in random parts of the pool because it seems like a good idea…also, try not to rush people to the deep end of the pool, make sure they can swim before you’ve got a mess on your hands.
You’re going to want to keep this box as empty as possible. Think of this box as a cross between purgatory and probation. If somebody’s in this box, either they screwed up with you in a major way, or you’re unsure about this person, or maybe it’s something like a co-worker you don’t like, but have to interact without, you know, stabbing.
Most of the time, you don’t really “want” them around, they just are.
Try not to put people here, but once they’re here, keep them in this box. I’ve bounced a few people out of this box, and it never worked out.
If you’re even thinking about this box, you’re in a situation with no potential soluation. Apologize for your part ’cause whoever the hell it is didn’t get all the way down here on their own, and go no-contact. If this fails, seek help elsewhere.