“I like to listen. I have learned a great deal from listening carefully. Most people never listen.”
— Ernest Hemingway
Here’s your midweek newsletter — a gentle nudge to make your week more interesting, thoughtful and productive.
Don’t Cut Them Off, Cut Them Some Slack Instead
The self-improvement and growth narrative is profusely skewed towards leaving people behind. That’s something I have a problem with, to be honest.
You can find tweets, posts on Instagram, et al. asking you to leave your friends behind if they’re not open to your specific growth. People post things such as “unfollow me if you disagree with my newfound growth or opinion,” and of course, that’s their decision.
I’m no stranger to feeling that my friends are dragging me down. I’m sure they’ve felt the same for me too when I was in a slump as they hit new strides in their life.
The thing is, you cannot expect your friends to move as fast as you are in some things. At the same time, you cannot expect people to fall in line with some belief that you now hold strongly, and probably won’t in the future.
If you truly care about people, you let them grow at their pace. Otherwise, the “I’ve grown, but they haven’t” is almost always an excuse to cutting off people you wanted to cut off anyway.
The timing of your growth and their falling behind just happened to fall in line, conveniently.
The internet has changed a lot in how we interact. The amount of conversations people had in their lifetimes now happen in mere years. So, disagreeing more is bound to happen.
The probability of meeting like-minded people has increased tenfold too. Yet, most of these people could never come to your rescue when you need someone to be present physically.
This is not to crap on the relationships we build over the internet either. I adore some of the friendships I’ve built online, and I know they are for the long haul. It’s not either-or!
Is it worth it to lose friends you’ve had for years over a disagreement on, say, a lifestyle choice? Probably not. Is it okay to find new friends who share similar values? Absolutely!
For example, once I started reading philosophy, I realised a lot of things that were just plain wrong in the way we talked to each other, from strawman arguments to all sorts of fallacies.
So, should I continuously point these things out to my friends?
No. Sometimes, yes. On most days, I have to let them be their own selves. It’s not my job to educate them. It’s their own responsibility and willingness. In fact, the same goes for my blind spots too.
If all of your friends agree with you on everything, you don’t have friends. They’re just scared of you, your reactions and your antics. This is something I learned the hard way.
Of course, there are those relationships you have to leave behind. There’s no way around it. Yet, the illusion of that abundance of like-mindedness online has decreased the amount of work people do in maintaining friendships.
Sometimes, that work means agreeing to disagree on seemingly important things. More often than not cutting your friends some slack rather than cutting them off is the better call in the long-term.
You can’t live your life on a Zoom call, as possible as it sounds today.
Lifehack: Stop Volunteering Information
How often do you tell someone about something or put in an application for leave at work, and then take the next few lines or minutes explaining what it is that you exactly did or need it for? That’s called volunteering information. It’s almost always unnecessary.
There are two reasons for that. One, no one asked, so there’s no need to tell something that isn’t asked of you. Two, it makes you come across as someone who’s overcompensating. That puts you either as an unsure person or someone who’s plain lying.
So, when you’re typing that long text to your friend about a recent decision. Tell them what you want to, but don’t volunteer information just because you can’t stop. They don’t need the details.
If they do, they’ll ask for them.
Reading List: Last Exit to Brooklyn by Hubert Selby Jr.
“…but it’s when we’re willing to come face to face with that demon that we face the angel.”
I first read this book in college because of my then newfound love for the band alt-J. I adore the band as well as like this book because while it is set in the lower class of Brooklyn in the 1950s. It offers a glimpse into the difficult and usually unsightly sides of society in every city and year.
I feel it is as relevant today, especially when the internet makes it appear as if all is fine and good all over the world. If nothing else, it makes you look at the honest past for the world. I believe that perspective is important as it reminds us where we’re coming from as a society.
Also, the style that it is written in is unique. It takes some time getting used to, but it’s a different experience overall. All that said, if you do get through it, I’m sure you’ll come back to it.
Before that, you’ll feel the worst gut-punch in your recent personal history.
Quick Update On Nudge › How
Last week I posted my experience and idea for keeping things going when it comes to your habits. The idea was to do the bare minimum and flatten the curve until the situation you’re in changes to support your habits again. You can read the article here.
Also, the email subscribers for Midweek Nudge were sent the Tuesday Tidbits as a wallpaper pack today. If you missed your chance, and if you subscribe in the next 24 hours, I’d love to send you the same pack!
It should be on a Gumroad store I’m setting up soon if you read this after the 15th of October is over.
I hope this added some value to your week. Stay safe, stay inspired, and I’ll talk to you next week.