Friday 5: That’s Going to Leave a Mark

  1. What’s something dumb you’ve done to impress someone? I’m so glad that my desire to do things to impress the opposite sex was very tame and short-lived–I certainly never did it with my husband. But in my pre-teen years, because is there any better time to be dumb around boys? I once tried to sort of dressing and doing my hair a certain way that was more in line with what other girls in my class were doing, thinking that that would get the attention of a guy I had a crush on. It didn’t work, of course, and in retrospect, he was kind of an asshole. And on that note, I’m also glad my asshole phase was short-lived.
  2. Who has recently impressed you? My sister-in-law, who totally nailed her capstone and put out really raw, intense material and got up in front of a room full of people and read some of it out loud. Reading your work in public is hard enough to do.
  3. In what way are people’s first impressions of you typically right or wrong? I don’t know, because I don’t think anyone’s really told me what their first impression was! I’d love to hear it either way, though. I do know that my husband found me to be confident and I did grab his attention, and I’m glad it was positive and not just because I ended up marrying the dude, but thinking back to the night we first met, I really didn’t feel that way at all. But I want to come off that way and I’d love it if that’s the impression most other people get, but I bet no matter what I’ll probably think a person’s first impression of me was the total opposite of how I was feeling and saw myself at the time.
  4. When has someone been overly impressed by you? Okay, so here’s the thing with me–I have a habit of undercutting myself and downplaying either my positive traits or my accomplishments or both and I’m really, really trying to stop, but my first instinct for this one is to say that some of the work I’ve done I think sounds more impressive than it really is, like when I was writing for my local CBS affiliate before they “reevaluated their needs” or however they worded it when they ditched the section I was writing for. People tended to think that was pretty big, and my first instinct was to be like, “Nah, it’s not,” mostly because of the content, I think, but I also think that urge is bullshit.
  5. What’s a character trait people are generally not impressed enough by? Empathy. It tends to get dismissed as weakness when people are being polite and hippy-dippy ultra-sensitive snowflake bullshit when they’re being less than polite. People will lament that people are losing civility and respect in one breath (or Facebook post) and then in the next, shit all over people not wanting to be called a certain name or wanting certain changes in the country to genuinely benefit people   or being outspoken about problems they think need solved. And look, empathy isn’t easy–it’s probably one of those things that you work on constantly. But if everyone would just take a hot minute to think about what another person is thinking, feeling, and experiencing, really think about it, we’d have a much easier time understanding why people are saying and doing the things they are and we could make some progress at improving things for everyone. People are too dismissive. It’s easy to be. I generally think this whole “being nice is hard” attitude is bullshit, but I don’t think it’s bullshit to say empathy is hard.

From Friday 5.

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