Woman waiting for someone
Photo: Thinkstock

1. Stop Expecting People: To Be Your Partner in Crime

A group of friends and I had been out late one night when I saw it there, glowing like a beacon: the 24-hour frozen-yogurt stand. "You have to get something with me," I urged a friend's girlfriend, who I didn't know well. At my insistence, she came with, and after I ordered a Snickers-covered chocolate something, she reluctantly ordered a small lemonade. It took me a good while to realize that she had a lot of reasons for not wanting to be my partner in crime: She was out of money, she had to be up early and was hoping to head home. I'd thought it would be a fun, dorm-room-y bonding moment, but in the end, I was forcing the connection, as if only her enjoyment would justify my own. Ditto for staying up all night, ditto for spending a lot of money on fancy soap or whatever it is. It's okay if indulging in a particular guilty pleasure makes you happy. Do it. Be happy, down to the $7.50 in extra toppings.

2. Stop Expecting People: To Be on Time

They won't be. Stop being mad about it. Just bring a book to read while you wait.

3. Stop Expecting People: To Bash You on the Way to the Copier

Pop Quiz: You turn the corner in the office and hear your name mentioned in conversation.


(a) Assume they have called a special hallway meeting to discuss your many faults, foibles and fashion felonies.

(b) Try to head them off at the pass, bursting in with an, "I know, my presentation was horrible, wasn't it?"

(c) Go right back to your desk and bury your head in paperwork, hoping maybe they'll forget you exist.

(d) Think about what people usually talk about in public spaces at work, figure they are discussing some rather mundane logistical matter that concerns you, keep walking toward them and smile as you say hello.

If you answered (d), pick up your gold sticker on the way home! Regardless of what anyone was actually saying, you have a positive, balanced worldview and self-image. Trust that people think the best of you. (And, if they don't, let that be their problem, not yours.)

4. Stop Expecting People: To Like Your Catstache Picture

As you already knew on some level or another, that photo you just took of yourself holding your cat's face to your upper lip was about you and your adorable kitty. It doesn't matter if it gets 175 "likes" or retumbled 87 times or retweeted 329 times or if only your mother-in-law, who "likes" everything, "likes" your post. Post what you want to post, ride the dopamine rush, and give your feline some catnip treats to show her how much you love (not like) her, no internet required.

Next: Can someone really change?


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