Grow with Age

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You can discover new talents and interests at any age. People who stay open to their inner inclinations and remain true to themselves commonly discover more about themselves throughout their life.

-“Controlling People: How to Recognize, Understand, and Deal With People Who Try to Control You” by Patricia Evans

Disagreements

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Try to approach any disagreement not from the angle of winning or teaching, but from the angle of attempting to understand the other person. If the situation dictates, act as if that your opinion of this person is so high, you can’t understand how they could have this seemingly wrong opinion.

  1. It’s called being respectful. It helps in life.
  2. How important is this? If you’re about to argue with someone because they technically make a “jelly and peanut butter sandwich” instead a “peanut butter and jelly sandwich”, either stop yourself, or go sit in the corner until you figure out why no one likes you. Unless you’re good friends and both clearly enjoy harassing each other, then carry on.
  3. Some people have opinions or ways of doing things that seem weird initially, but are based on an insight into something this person has that you missed out on. If you don’t attack them right away and show interest, they’ll explain this to you.
  4. Making enemies has never benefitted me in any way, and it probably works this way for you, too.
  5. If you still reject their opinion, try to find some aspect of it you understand, or can use to explain your point of view. If the other person’s view is potentially harmful, think about how likely you are to change what they’re doing. If it’s something they’re serious about, and potentially harmful to people in your life, my advice is to cut out slowly over the next few weeks, and pretend like you just got busy. Unless it’s someone you work with or live by, in which case find a good article on antistalking.
  6. If you’re both unable to resolve it, the fact that  you were initially respectful is going to keep this from being too much of a problem.

#2 Idiot-Proofing

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A.If you’re prone to severe depression, don’t own a gun.

B.If your friend is severely depressed, don’t sell her a gun or go gun-shopping with her.

C.Dear God, if you’re both deeply depressed, why are you two looking at a gun magazine together?

 

In a way, this is a continuation of #1, but this is more focused on being aware of your own vulnerabilities, and how your friend’s vulnerabilities interact with yours.

 

C. How Your Vulnerabilities Interact with Others:

 

  1. If you’re diabetic, don’t own a bakery. I didn’t do this intentionally, but at the time I was doing meth, most of the people who majorly into meth distribution in my area were pretty freaking scary. I found that going through a person that mainly used heroin was pretty good harm reduction. Problematically, this is really what got me into needles, which either would have taken longer to happen had I gone the other route, or not happened at all. Unsure, let’s just say everything has it’s trade-offs. At various points I was around people that manufactured their own and hooked me up, but I was never allowed completely unfettered access to my drug of choice, which probably would have killed me. I strayed from the point here, really, but if you have this one weird kryptonite in your life, don’t have a stockpile of it in your basement and hang out with people that collect it.
  2. If you actively have a problem in your life, don’t exclusively surround yourself with people in the midst of the same problem. Weird stuff starts to seem normal, and you develop this weird homeostasis where if one person improves, the rest of the group drags them back down, and you all go downhill, at best slowly.
  3. I “only” did this twice, but I tried to help two people get clean without outside intervention. I’ve encouraged other people, but I mean this is on the level of completely putting my own problems on hold and making this person’s lack of drug use my entire life ambition.

 

Lessons learned:

  1. I am less skillful at being an on-call nurse, substance abuse counselor, therapist, and support group than a team of trained professionals and a support group. Know your limitations.
  2. The first time resulted in the most severely screwed-up romantic relationship of my life, and the second time ended a friendship. If something seems like a bad idea, it probably is. Try to think about the end result of something is going to be before you do it.
  3.  Ultimately, I relapsed both times. (There were other factors involved both times, but being in this situation didn’t help me either.) Again, if something is probably not going to end well, puts you at risk, and additionally won’t directly benefit you in any way, ffs, don’t do it. You are many things, but not a saint or martyr.

 

How this is meant to translate into your life is that you should try not to put yourself around people that are likely to screw you up. If the deepest tie the two of you have is something negative, and especially if y’all have been basically going over the highlights of it for the last couple hours, it might be a good time to excuse yourself.

B.I feel this isn’t one of those things that need to be said, really, but if someone is vulnerable to something, especially if it’s probably going to be a disaster for them, don’t help them get it or accomplish whatever they’re trying to do.

Yes, even if you might derive some benefit from it, you little sociopath, you.

In fact, if you can encourage them not to do it, that’s pretty cool. However, it’s not your responsibility to keep them under lock-and-key, either, especially if this involves missing work and screwing up your own life.

A. (Related to the other points, but bears repeating) Don’t put yourself in situations that in all probability are going to end badly for you, even if you want to do it on some level, or have convinced yourself that you can handle it. I think we all have this weird little part of our brain that’s actively trying to kill us, and it’s worse with addicts/alcoholics.

#1 Know the Morality of Those Around You

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Oh dear. Lol. You’re so the opposite of a criminal.

-best friend

 

If you’re friends with a kleptomaniac, it’s best not to ask him to house-sit for you.

 

I am not really a true-to-the-core criminal, or look like what most would think of when it comes to as a criminal. What I mean by the first part is that I don’t enjoy hurting other people or winning perceived power games against them. I feel like most crime happens because people are in a bad spot financially or they’re into weird power games and would make good CEO’s. I’ve never even stolen during the duration of my adult life. I stole mascara once in middle school and cried for a week. That kind of stuff is too thick for my blood, so to speak.

I am technically a criminal because I violated social and legal constructs. I managed to do it without legal consequences, but the behavior still happened. How I managed to psychologically reconcile myself with what I was doing was due to my belief that a) individuals are sovereign over their bodies, b)illegal is not the same as immoral, c) justified it to myself that I wasn’t selling anything I wouldn’t use myself. At this point, I’m more receptive to the fact that certain behaviors are harmful to society as a whole and lead to chaos in the life of individual.

I’m assuming you’re something close to this yourself. That said, a lot of people in the world aren’t like this, and they don’t come with warning labels, and a lot of them hide really well. When you’re putting another person in a position of trust in your life, you need to know how they’re going to fail you or cause you harm, and if this is something that you can either guard against or bear. Maybe you might decide that this is the kind of person you don’t want in your life, and you need to figure out how to cut ties hard and fast without making a mess.

 

In the case that you decide to keep this person in your life, don’t put them in a position that tempts them into whatever their problem is, and don’t think because you two are so close that they won’t hurt you. Most of the time they won’t, but it seems to be a rule in my life that when I really need someone to not do something, this is the exact moment they decide to go rogue on me. Watch for that in your own.
There’s no real litmus test for certain behaviors, but I’ve noticed if someone stresses how much they don’t do something, or if you notice their actions not matching up with their words, it’s best to err on the side of pessimism. If you have a friend that hates when people gossip, but tells you every screwed up thing that everyone else in her life is doing, it’s probably less like you’re her best friend, and more like the rest of her friends know every screwed up thing you’ve done since you’ve met her.