Five things you (and I) need to stop doing. Now.

As an imperfect yet ever-evolving being, I try to maintain self-insight and look for ways in which I could improve. (After all, I’m thoughtful and stuff.)

Don’t let me mislead you–most of the time, those things are usually along the line of less shampoo, more SPF. But occasionally, I like to go a little deeper than that. And I think these five tendencies are something I need to work on eradicating. Maybe you do, too.

Saying “sorry” when you really mean “excuse me.” How is (sometimes awkwardly) moving through and existing in shared space deserving of an apology?! Apologizing for one of those weird I thought you were going this way, no I’ll go that way moments is a strange and submissive habit that says, “I am not worthy of accidentally standing in your way for two whole seconds. Forgive me.” No. Stop it.

Forcing or avoiding small talk. Small talk is, admittedly, not my thing. Most of the time. Some days, I’m perfectly willing to engage in this kind of communication, and other times, I’m just not in the mood. Both of these things are okay. There are mornings at work where I’ll happily chat with a co-worker about our weekends, and the very next day, I might not have more than a friendly “hello” for the same person. That’s fine—I don’t think you need to force conversation every time you’re faced with someone. (I’ve done that, too, and wanted to smack myself when I mumbled something incoherent for the sake of making noise at someone.) There are those who will ALWAYS want to chat, in which case it’s perfectly acceptable to keep your responses light and short. Not everyone is good at small talk, and not everyone likes it. But in professional situations especially, it’s important to maintain a friendly air about you, even if you have nothing to contribute besides a smile.

Giving a wishy-washy RSVP. As an introvert who doesn’t want to hurt anyone’s feelings, I am very guilty of this. Someone you don’t know very well invites you to a party where you won’t know anyone, a friend you haven’t seen in a while calls you up last-minute for a get-together, or a buddy wants to go to a bar that you HATE. These are all circumstances where it’s okay to very clearly say, “No, thanks!” or, “Sorry, I can’t make it.” Sounds incredibly simple, yet many people make it so much more difficult than that. Not everyone is good at the whole Facebook invite thing—we shouldn’t assume everyone’s lives revolve around it—but otherwise, responding with, “Mayyybeee… I’ll let you know!” when you are already dead-set on not attending is just plain flaky. Of course, if you say no all the time, people will stop inviting you. I do think it’s good to go out of your comfort zone every now and then, or offer an alternative plan. But saying “no” on occasion so you can stay home and drink boxed wine? Totally okay.

Deflecting, or rejecting, compliments. I’ve seen this piece of advice floating around inspirational la-dee-da blogs about self-love and embracing your inner hoo-ha a fair amount, but it’s worth repeating. Because people don’t just hand out compliments out of obligation. They have to go out of their way to pronounce extra syllables and exert a fair amount of air to tell you that you look great/did a good job/are super thoughtful. When you respond with self-deprecation or throw back a half-hearted “No, you!”, it’s like saying, “You’re wrong, and I actually really suck.” Uncomfortable for all parties involved.

Living in your own bubble, on repeat. So easy to do. So easy to fix. Take a different route to work. Do something OTHER than partying every weekend. Actually make eye contact (and say hello?!) to the people you pass in the hallway. This last one, I swear, is a dying form of civility. People my age looks at me like I’m nuts if I smile and say hello… even if we’re the only two people in a room. Anyone over 60? They’re the first to say, “Morning!” We need to bring that back.

What would you add to this list? Are you guilty of any of these offenses?

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  1. Dude, small talk. Hate it. So much. Apologizing = my life. I consistently apologize for existing. Not okay! And the hardest thing about RSVPs for me is fully committing. I can say no pretty easily, but it’s the building up to saying yes and then actually following through that I struggle with. I think that’s a problem everyone has, though…it’s the whole Fear Of Missing Out thing. No one wants to commit to one event when another, better event could be right around the corner. I’ve gotten tired of people not committing to all of the shit I want to do, though, so that’s an area I’ve actually made some strides in this past year. All of these are so true!

    • Miss Existation should NEVER apologize for existing! I know, all such hard habits to break. Hence my need to publicly point them out. Now that they’re out there, I need to stoppitnow, right? 🙂

  2. This is all really great advice! I need to take #5 to heart especially. I’m totally that awkward person that avoids contact with strangers because I’m afraid of… I have no idea, actually. I think this is partially a geographical thing too – living in a big North American city, people tend to avoid each other, but in other countries or smaller towns, people are generally way more friendly.

    • I love that about small towns! It’s definitely an adjustment when I DO go to any small town, though. It’s like, “Whoa, I was all prepared to have minimal communication with you because that’s how us Yankees do it, but you’re actually interested in how my day is going? ….Well how nice of you!”

  3. Great list! As I’ve grown older, I’ve become a lot more graceful about most things on your list, but the small talk always drags me down. My life just isn’t filled with quippy events perfect for sprinkling into small talk.

    • Ohhhhoho. Neither is mine. I love when someone asks me, “What are your plans for the weekend?” And I (somewhat jokingly, mostly truthfully) say, “Nothing.” It always leads to confusion and/or sympathy, haha.

  4. #5 has become a whole lot easier for me since moving to Italy, because it’s more a part of life here. Only problem is when I go back to the UK and blithely say good morning/afternoon to people and they look at me like a complete weirdo. But that’s OK. At least I’m a *friendly* weirdo, right?

    The funniest example of #1 for me was when I was a drama student in Stratford-upon-Avon. We used to drink in The Dirty Duck, which is the pub opposite the main theatre. Because of where it is, all the actors come in there when they’ve finished their shows for the night.

    So one night, I’m in there with my friends, and we’ve been there for a couple of hours. I’m mid-heated conversation and, as I’m a slightly drunk drama student, waving my hands around a LOT to illustrate my point. Suddenly, my hands hit somebody’s face as they try to walk past me. I – quite rightly – apologise profusely, but the funniest thing is that the person concerned, in true English fashion, also apologises to *me*. ‘Cos that’s just what you do when you get slapped in the face – say sorry for getting in the way. Obviously.

    The icing on the cake of this whole incident was that the person I slapped was Josie Lawrence, who was, that year, doing a season with the RSC. I was even more mortified when I realised – but on the other hand I’ve been dining out on the story of ‘I slapped JL in the face’ ever since …

    • HAHAH that’s a great story. It’s really bad when you’re apologizing for being the recipient of a smack in the face. 😛

      But yes, much better to be a friendly weirdo than just a plain weirdo. Then again, we’re all weirdos here.

  5. This post totally made me smile. I’m rather guilty of the wishy washy RSVP myself. I really should just say ‘no’ when I am planning to say ‘no’ anyway.
    So glad to have found your blog, Cassie. Love your voice.
    Ronnie xo

  6. I love this. I’m so guilty of a lot of these – especially saying sorry instead of excuse me! Definitely things I need to remember to work on. 🙂

  7. I am very guilty of wishy-washy RSVPs. Just recently, someone asked us if we’d be seat fillers (basically) at their Wedding dinner. We hadn’t gotten an invitation to any part of the Wedding and it’s next week, and receiving this note on FACEBOOK was a bit… blah. I knew right away that we had other plans and I totally felt like their last resort, still, I said, “thanks for thinking of us, I’ll check with G and see what he thinks and let you know…” When I should have just said, “Thanks but no thanks, we have plans for that weekend, but maybe if we had of known in advance?” Anyway, we turned down the invite in the end but not without a run around.

  8. Whoooooops! Forgot to mention that 20SB pointed me in your direction. Love your Blog, great writing! Looks like I’ll be staying here a while… 🙂
    Rachel Emmilee

    • Thanks so much, Rachel! Gotta love 20sb for introducing you to new blogs AND readers. I’m already loving yours, too. 🙂 Oh, and that was a crappy thing for that person to do. Why not just ask random strangers then, instead of friends/acquaintances you didn’t originally invite?? Awkward.

  9. Love this post! I’m definitely guilty of #1 and #2. And I totally agree with saying “hi” to people when you walk by and not giving wishy-washy RSVPs. Lol, those are two of my pet peeves! 🙂

  10. Amen! You totally hit the nail on the head. I do #1 all the time and I have no idea why. And wishy-washy RSVPs drive me crazy…but sometimes I do that, too. Must work on this! 🙂

  11. Hehehe, thanks for your comment(s) on my Blog… If you find out how to become a morning person, PLEASE let me know… I’m getting better at the “me time” thing, just not the morning thing… Grr!

  12. guilty, guilty, guilty!! This was amazing and gave me a good laugh. I’ll be referring to it in the future. Thanks for the advice

  13. Numbers 4 and 5. How did you know?

  14. Great advice that I need to follow. Thank you!!!

  15. This is a pretty fantastic list. I’m the worst for apologizing. Seriously, the WORST. I even still apologize to my boyfriend of two years when I accidentally bump his arm or something. It’s like a complex. I probably shouldn’t even be admitting it. I’ve been trying to be more conscious of it and work on stopping with the apologizing already, and I think I’m getting better, but I still let a “Sorry!” slip every now and then.

  16. Yes! I am guilty of these and hate myself for it. My husband yells at me for saying sorry all the time. You know what I respond with?? Sorry!


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