Reading the Situation

Are you a good judge of other people’s happiness? Tell us about a time you were spot on despite external hints to the contrary (or, alternatively, about a time you were dead wrong).


 

Being able to read people is simultaneously a blessing and a curse. There are people you want to read in order to help them out and lend an ear if they so need, then there are some people you really don’t want to read or who don’t want to be read; this can lead to some unsavory feelings if not dealt with properly.

The gift found in being able to read people is that you are able to tell when another person is happy, and if your an emphatic then that happiness could in turn be your happiness. A person can be so happy that a dreary environment will not even intrude upon their good feeling, that is the wholesome feeling of rightness that we all strive for. Some are successful, many are not.

There was a time when I was hanging out with a group of friends that I can clearly recall being able to read people a little too well. It was one of my friends birthday’s, and I could tell that she was not having a good time. It was her 21st birthday, and while many choose to go out to a bar and drink on their 21st that is not everyone’s cup of tea. My friend fell into the latter category, but some of our other friends simply told her “you don’t know what you’re talking about” and tacked on the ever helpful “you’ll have a blast”.

It turns out that no, she did not have a blast. She drank a few drinks that she really didn’t want to, and we stayed out much later than she had deigned necessary. But she was the birthday girl, fresh to the bar scene, and our other friends were either too focused on their own inebriation that they didn’t notice her miserable countenance or they were having too much fun to care.

That was the moment I felt my inner self being torn in two different directions. One of those direction reached out to the birthday girl, who clearly would have preferred to celebrate her birthday in a different fashion. The other direction went out to those of my friends that were undeniably having a good time. Being able to read people and situations means that you often have to pick sides, and while it might be an unfortunate feeling for you, you’re going to find that you can be the savior too many under certain circumstances.

In that instance, I choose to help out the miserable party; because it was her birthday and no one should feel miserable on their birthday.

~J. Spade

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To The Grave

Keeping a secret, while difficult, is not impossible. Secrets are small glimpses into another person’s soul; they happen because you were trusted by that person to help keep a piece of her or him unseen. It’s an act of trust between two or more people, and spilling the so called beans can essentially mean breaking that trust. Reality is harsh, but if you fail to keep a secret that is that big then you might has well have literally thrown your friend under the bus rather than figuratively. The key here is keep your lips sealed to the best of your ability.

As with anything, there are plenty of tips that can help keep a secret remain just that. Some of those tips include:

  • Putting yourself in his or her shoes. Think how you would feel if it was your secret being shared. You wouldn’t want to tell just anyone your secret, so you shouldn’t tell just anyone their secret.
  • Listen to them. Chances are they mentioned at least once that you “can’t tell anyone”. Anyone means anyone. Even if it is someone who doesn’t know them you still shouldn’t let their secret slip. Telling a person who doesn’t know the person is just as bad as telling someone who does know them. It’s a gateway slip, it will undoubtedly lead to future slips. So just don’t do it.
  • Secrets can be soul burdens. If you’re finding a mighty need to tell the secret just to ease the pressure of your soul write it down. Use code-names of course so that if someone happened across it all parties involved would still remain intact. Writing it down is similar to sharing the secret with someone without all the horrible backlash that could result in a loss of friends.
  • Know your limits. There are some people who just can’t keep secrets. If you are one of those people, speak up before the secret is spilled. That way if for some unfortunate reason you were to let it slip later on, then it will not be entirely your fault. You gave fair warning, and they still decided to share their secrets.
  • Understand the difference between secrets that should be kept and secrets that shouldn’t. Sometimes there are people out there who give you a secret that can be harmful: to themselves or to others. If you happen to come across such a secret you will have a lot to contemplate. First you will need to know who you can turn to with this secret, because harmful secrets aren’t always best left swept under the rug.

Those, of course, are just a few of the essential guidelines to follow. There is more to it than that, but knowing the basics helps to lay the groundwork for future tight lips.

~J. Spade

Growing Up

Getting older means that you take on more and more responsibilities; you have to care for yourself and for others. If you’ve ever spent any time as a designated driver (DD) then you know that it is akin to parenting or babysitting. There is something wholly uncouth about being the only sober person amidst a mass of drunkards; especially when you’re in a fairly large city.

Don’t get me wrong, I love my friends and I am glad I could be there for them on their big day and help out; but holy crap can drunks be difficult to handle. Mainly when there is a large group of them. There is nothing more taxing than a group of eight or more drunks each getting ideas in their head, because as the DD you are bound to be pulled in a million different directions trying to wrangle up the lush’s.

Of course, there are different levels to each person. One person might be content to follow you around all night because they “love you sooo much”, whereas another might just want to go make out with someone and you’ll be damned lucky if they mention anything of the sort to you. So not only do you have to search out your friends in the dark, but you have to look for shadows of themselves behind the silhouette of the partner they have chosen. It can get somewhat awkward out on the dance floor, because more than half of the people out there are sucking face and you’ll be lucky if you can see your friend at all.

As a DD you’re not there to snub out their fun, you’re simply there to give them a safe ride home. But shit, is it hard to make sure they get home safe when they’ve all scattered like a bunch of flies at a barbeque.

You’re bound to hear the same story at least ten times, with spastic embellishments that can only make sense to those with inebriated brains. You’re going to get annoyed, your feet will hurt, and the music and smells might just give you a headache. The selling point would have to be the fact that you’ll probably spend more money than you had planned on by buying your friends birthday drinks, and sadly none of those drinks were even for you. It can be frustrating, but hopefully the drunk birthday girl or guy is kind enough to drunkenly declare how grateful they are that you did this for them.

A few tips for surviving a night as a DD would be:

  • Set your guidelines early in the night when they’re still coherent enough to understand them.
  • Don’t plan to leave the bars early. Chances are they are going to want to close it out, and if you had planned to go home early your annoyance level will be through the roof.
  • Be firm, but understanding. They’re drunk and you are not. Don’t be a pushover, but don’t be a party pooper either.
  • Have fun. Yeah, you’re surrounded by a bunch of drunk, horny fools, but that doesn’t mean you have to be angry about it. Laugh, enjoy the embarrassing shenanigans that everyone is partaking in.

And most importantly:

  • Take detailed notes. It’s all going to be worth it when you’re reacquainting your friends with all of their drunken shenanigans.

 

 

Yours Truly

~Johana Spade