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September 20, 2010 | by  | in Opinion | [ssba]

The Rules of Engagement

Sometimes it’s hard to get along with people. Like at work, when this senile old guy who can’t really speak a coherent sentence comes in. He informs me that he’s on the unemployment benefit and therefore must collect all the silver pen nibs he can find, meanwhile throwing in the odd conspiracy theory and mad raving while he’s at it—oh wait. That’s not hard to get along with. That’s err, yeah…

But I’ve been thinking lately that, as hard as it is to get along with people you don’t like, it’s even harder to get along with those you do. A slightly sober note, perhaps, but here it is:

How to Like People and Not Not Like Them (But Not Like Like Them Either Because That Would Give Them the Wrong Idea)

Consider Exhibit A: The Best Friend. Sometimes they can seem like a full-time job. This can be a good or a bad thing, depending on what the job is. The Best Friend is an interesting and complex creature; when you first encounter it, it dazzles you with its shiny, shiny luminescence. “Aha!” you say. This must be an ice cream taste-testing sort of job, the kind you never get sick of, no matter how often people (jealous people) tell you that it’s too sweet.

But often things evolve—just ask evolution. The Best Friend can often evolve too; the job you once had enthusiasm for becomes routine. Like in retail. You do the same things, you have the same conversations. You even have the same old resentments—you find yourself wanting to scream, “goddamn you, I am a PERSON too!” at times. (Or if you work in a DVD store, just put Zoolander on—he says pretty much the same thing, only with Blue Steel eyes). You start to wonder why you work there, especially when the things you first liked about it become the things that irritate the fuck out of you.

Often all it takes to like the job again is a bit of time and space. Maybe if you work part-time, you will have more time to eat ice-cream while watching The Vampire Diaries. And more time to observe the fact that Ian Somerhelder has perfect cheekbones. You don’t have to quit the job. Being part-time, you’ll still get the staff discount, and the time away means you can start to appreciate the shiny things again. You might even remember that there’s still ice-cream in the freezer from last year’s Christmas party. And it still tastes pretty good.


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