Manners, Douchebaggery, and the Power of Snap Judgments

During my time off from school, I entered into my “must clean all the things” mode. When I’m in this mode, I clean and purge my closets of stuff I haven’t used in months.

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(drawing credit to Allie Brosh)

On this particular day, I also finally decided to unpack “the box.”

“The box” was my final box from my move six months ago that had remained unpacked, sitting in my living room. I don’t know why I chose to unpack everything except for that box. Maybe because I knew it didn’t really have anything in it that I needed. Or maybe because I wanted to annoy visitors. Or maybe I just like boxes. Anyways, this box was taking up some space I finally wanted to utilize, so I decided it must be unpacked.

Inside it, there were a hodgepodge of items, including random knickknacks, photos, and books. Among the books, were these old ones:

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You know what those are? Those are “relationship books.” You know where I’m going to put them? In a recycling bin–the environmentally friendly version of the trash.

Because no one needs them. They are stupid. Yes, I just called some books stupid. And if you’re thinking of reading them, I’ll save you some time by telling you that you don’t need any smidgeon of information from these books , because you already have everything you need to know–STORED RIGHT IN YOUR BRAIN.

Anytime I start reading a book that tells me to do “XYZ” when I don’t want to do “XYZ–” that’s putting a lot of pressure on myself. It causes me to think I have to be perfect, while being someone I’m actually not. It makes me twist myself into a pretzel, trying to accommodate someone else. Have you ever twisted yourself into a pretzel? Well I have, and I can tell you it wasn’t really fun.
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While being flexible is a valuable character trait, being someone other than yourself is not.

People do this all the time when they date. I’ve done it. Men have done it with me. It’s human nature to want to be desired. Sometimes, although I am embarrassed to admit it, I actually went on a few dates with someone I wasn’t that interested in, because I still wanted him to like me. Now how messed up is that logic? 😳

One day there was a guy who I thought was really “into me,” (bought me flowers on a second date, took me to expensive restaurants, and called me everyday). All of a sudden, he didn’t want to date me anymore. Finito. Done with Emily. Just not interested at all. Like never wanted to talk to me again. Upon hearing this, I started to feel depressed. But then a dear friend quickly reminded me of this:

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So I realized he just beat me to it. He ended it before I did. The only reason why this was depressing was because I was taking it personally–as a personal rejection of my worth. When in reality, we were both just trying to figure out if we were a match for each other. This process would have sped itself up if I had paid more attention to how I was feeling and WHAT I WANTED to DO instead of following the rules of some book which told me to continue to give any nice, well mannered man a chance.

I remember what happened when I started doing things I wanted to do instead of being a pretzel.

Things like this started happening:

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And it was freeing.

On a slightly separate note, I’ve noticed that sometimes manners and being nice are overrated. A couple of years ago, I was listening to a friend of mine tell a story about a “nice guy” who opened doors for her and paid for everything and was a “true gentleman” and she just couldn’t understand WHY he had been so nice, only to suddenly disappear and ignore her.

Upon hearing her story, and listening to another friend point it out, it suddenly hit me–THOSE ARE JUST MANNERS. It just means that person knows how to act in a way that society says is “right” and “nice.” That person may be a really kind, thoughtful person, or maybe he or she is just a douchebag or douchebaguette.

(Douchebaguette is my new favorite word, by the way.)

Manners do not equal kindness.

So that’s why I blow my nose on a first date sometimes. And that’s why if I’m on a first date, and I’m really “not feeling” the guy, and he suddenly asks me if I want to go somewhere else, I just say, “No thanks. I want to go home.”

Those are not good manners. But I’m being myself when I do those things. I blow my nose a lot. I have snot problems. So, I’m not going to hide that. If I don’t feel like talking to someone, I’m not going to hide that anymore.

Our time is too important to spend it in ways we don’t want to spend it.

In his book, Blink, Malcolm Gladwell says, “In vital matters, such as the choice of a mate or a profession, the decision should come from the unconscious, from somewhere within ourselves. In the important decisions of personal life, we should be governed, I think, by the deep inner needs of our nature.”

I really believe that my nature, my instincts, my heart–CAN be trusted. And I also believe that nothing or no one who is meant to be in my life will ever get away from me if it is meant to be there.

So in 2015, I’m gonna continue to ride the wave of snap judgments, aka my heart. I’m going to continue to trust that my intuition is far wiser than some book or even what other people may deem to be common sense.

And whatever is meant to be will show up.

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