Updated: May 3, 2022
I was asked a question in an interview this week. “What do you wish you could tell your younger self?”
Oh, my GOSH! SO MUCH! Like, don’t believe that thing with the toothpaste on your pimples, the Listerine for your pedicure, or cleaning your teeth with a lemon. Don’t use your teeth as tools, especially when trying to uncap a soda. Don’t hold the puppy’s leash between your teeth when there are squirrels around. Don’t rub your eyes after cutting jalapenos.
This week, however, I was on a train car that was filled with teenage girls. It was Dante’s fifth circle of hell, because they were all trying to out-impress each other. But it was also a learning experience. I wanted to sit down with each one of those girls and say, “Honey, relax. Stop trying so hard. You’re good enough already. And stop saying 'like' all the time.”
And sure, I wish someone had told that to me, back when I was an appropriately miserable teenager. There are so many things that would’ve helped to know, things I’m still learning.
Some people are nasty, irritable and rude because that’s just who they are. It’s okay not to like them. Your niceness won’t change them. They like being ogres.
Two people in a relationship should be equals. Relationships—romantic and friendship—shouldn’t have mother/child dynamics. One should be able to expect the same caring, time and thoughtfulness as one gives.
When someone comes to you draped in red flags, it’s okay to back off. I used to have this theory: I would be friends with anyone. I would never be elitist or judgmental, would always be kind and welcoming. But listen to Auntie Kristan, kids. It’s okay to be discerning. Just because someone wants to attach to you doesn’t mean you must let them.
You don’t have to solve the problems of everyone you meet, nor do you have the power to do so.
People who enjoy food and wine and puppies are generally more fun.
There are people who thrive off being victims and feed off the attention their stories attract, and these are usually not very fun (or honest) people. When people always look at the glass as half empty, they’re going to drain you, too.
Oh, and one more thing. Take time to be alone, just you and your thoughts. Turn off the phone, TV, computer, radio. Take a few breaths and remember that you are someone’s best thing.