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I may not be an extreme people pleaser, but that doesn’t mean I strive to be a people displeaser, either. Meaning, in some areas, I don’t particularly care what people think of me and can defend myself when need be. However, I always thought it was of great importance to be a considerate human being. I try my best to not inconvenience those around me. But at a certain point, I wondered if I had to adopt a more IDGAF attitude because always thinking of others can be tiring and stressful, not to mention underappreciated. So how do I strike the balance between not giving a f*ck and being a considerate human being?
I thoroughly enjoyed reading Mark Manson’s The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck*, and definitely need to reread it. But I also remember another thing I encountered (Video or article? I forget) that challenged me by saying I should take my sweet time on a busy line at Starbucks to decide on a drink, ignoring the protests from the people in the long line behind me. I thought I could never do that, especially because I knew that if I were on that line behind such a person, I would also be very annoyed (empathy, my friend!).
But now envision this… I am right now at a busy Barnes & Noble, having forgotten that although it was a Monday, it was Martin Luther King Jr. Day, so many people were off work and off school. It’s incredibly crowded. There’s pretty much only one big table in a corner by the window. I need it because I am expecting two friends to join me for a day of productivity. I ask the lone man sitting there how long he will be there. He tells me he doesn’t know, but moves after finding out that I am expecting a total party of three. Grateful, I sit, while he moves to a table right next to me. Already, the sweat begins. I need him to know I didn’t make him move for no reason!
My friends are still not near enough. I have brought an extra chair so there are three total at the table. A man comes by and asks if I am using the chairs. I say yes. I sit there, still alone, sweating even more, sending desperate messages to my friends. Time lapses–ever so painfully slowly. A woman approaches, asking if I am using a chair. I say yes. She asks, “Both of them?” I reply, “Yes,” because I know that if she takes them, there’s no guarantee there will be chairs for my friends when they finally arrive–whenever that may be. Plus, there are other free chairs, so she (and the man before her) have no difficulties finding other options.
My friends say they have 20 minutes more until they arrive, and they are both hungry. I regret everything. I can blame them for being late, but I can’t blame them for this predicament because no one asked me to save this table and the chairs. Plus, I chose this location and to go earlier, even though one of them told me to wait to leave (I figured it would be empty so I could just do work while I wait, but boy, was I wrong). I am not angry at them, but stressed over the situation I put myself in. Then I am reminded of the IDGAF approach, and the example of wasting everyone else’s time at Starbucks on a busy morning. Wasn’t I basically doing that right now? I wasn’t being considerate for the other people in this bookstore. At the same time, who cares? Should I let it bother me so much? I knew that this situation was a bit different because even if they were annoyed, it wouldn’t last long–and they probably didn’t even care that much since the problems were quickly resolved for them. Although a milder example, this was a similar situation nonetheless.
Was what I was doing completely in the wrong? Or was it acceptable? Was I overthinking this? I wanted to explain my situation to everyone here, but did it even matter? They were complete strangers anyway, strangers I may never run into again, so why was I investing so much time and energy into worrying over whether they thought ill of me? And I started to understand the concept of whoever made that example about the Starbucks line. I came first. I understood myself and my situation, even if they didn’t. I shouldn’t have to explain myself. I know I am not an evil person. I shouldn’t stress over others. Those others can take care of themselves–nay, it’s their responsibility to take care of themselves (starts deviating into The Declaration of Not Giving a F*ck). It wasn’t my duty to cater to them. And sometimes, it’s just a conflict of entitlement, anyway (I came here first and got the chairs prepared for my friends, so I feel entitled to keep them, whereas you’re not entitled to these chairs just for wanting to sit in this store–again, no one protested or anything; it’s just an example).
This doesn’t mean I’m going to ignore an elderly woman looking for a seat on a crowded bus or anything. Not giving a f*ck doesn’t mean I’m going to forego all kindness and become a complete jerk. I’m still going to try to be considerate as much as possible–but when I can’t, especially because of circumstances, I shouldn’t fret about it or start hating myself. After all, my main New Year’s resolution is to love myself, and I shouldn’t let the hatred of others get in the way of that. Plus, look at the upside! I came to this enlightenment and got to write an amazing, award-worthy new blog post (shut up, I’m loving myself here).
If need be, waste my time on the line while you make your important life decision about your beverage order. I’ll hate you for it for a good five minutes, but why should you care?
P.S. THEY FINALLY GOT HERE! AND THEY BEAR GIFTS. But this place has no outlets, which is just a genius kind of stupid.