Nobody is mean for no reason. Usually you can figure out why. If you can, you should. And keep it in mind.
If someone is consistently sarcastic, the fastest and most painful way to get them to stop is to be incredibly vulnerable. It works, but it still takes time. Be heartbreakingly open.
There are people who gossip and people who are interested in people. In a small group of friends, talk goes around. There’s almost nothing you can do about it. People who refuse to say anything bad, ever, are either disingenuous or saints. I don’t know an awful lot of saints (I don’t know that I’d want to), so it’s probably the former. There’s an impasse somewhere and it extends to more in their lives than you might think.
You should trust people. One way that people become trustworthy is when others place faith in them. Who cares if you get disrupted the first few times.
You don’t have to wait for other people to do things. It’s easiest to just do them yourself. The process is usually simpler than you think. (Power tools!)
If you’re a really nice person and you hang out with someone and have a bad time and come away thinking, I am SO boring, it might actually be the other person who’s boring.
Children are little people who say things which we think are very clever, but I think it’s just because we’re older and have learned rote ways of thinking. They’re just making connections a new way, which is another way of saying creatively, which is another way of saying genius. Children are really perceptive. You can often get them to do things by explaining them like you would to a peer.
It’s pretty easy to get other people to think you’re smart. All you have to do is memorize a lot of words and listen to NPR once in awhile. Of course, if you’re consistently trying to make people think you’re smart, maybe you’re not. Or maybe you are. I don’t know.
It’s also easy to get people to like you. All you have to do is like them.
Guilt trips never work.
It’s easier to get along with people if you take care with your appearance. This is also true for staying out of jail.
You can get away with a LOT of things if you have a baby with you. It makes people assume you know what you’re doing. Like having an expensive camera while trespassing.
I know a few things about writing too. I know basically how to evoke emotions. Mostly, don’t overstate it. It’s a little more complicated than that, but not much.
If you’re broke and you need a drink, you put on something nice and go to a bar. Ask for a taste of tap beer in a whisky glass and take it upstairs or to a pool table or something. Then when someone offers to get you a drink and asks what you have, you say, “Oh, thank you. I think I’ll switch to gin & tonic.” It works! Reminds me of that ee cummings line, “Humanity I love you because when you’re hard up you pawn your intelligence to buy a drink.” But then, you know, there’s that whole thing about a free lunch.
Free lunches! That’s easy too. The most creative way I ever got a free dinner was a couple years ago when I had no money and was dramatically desperate. I saw in the DTH that four Russian slam-poets were giving a round-table discussion on campus. I looked at the names and small pictures. One was smoking a cigarette. I figured, that’s all I need. A cigarette and no lighter. This is turning out to be a longer anecdote than I anticipated. If anyone wants to know the very interesting way I got a fancy free dinner, let me know and I’ll write out the story.
When things are stolen, you should look for them. Often you’ll find them.
People feel more comfortable around you when you speak in a similar cadence.
People like to do things for people. It makes them feel good and it makes you feel special. It’s the opposite side of the coin from doing nice things for others. Let them. (Ditto, obviously.)
What a lot of things I know! I thought I’d run out after a few paragraphs. This is fun.