About a month ago I gave a friend of mine a simple piece of advice. You see, at the time, that person was significantly upset about the lack of consideration of others. Trying to be the voice of wisdom, I said ,” You know what, Just don’t care whether others ask about you or not, don’t ask others to be considerate, and don’t expect them to be. That way when someone does something great for you, you would really be pleasantly surprised”.
A month later I got an sms from the same friend thanking me for this advice. At that point, my friend told me that life has become so much better with the caring factor conveniently removed from the emotional mix.
On the one hand, I was glad to help, after all if any of my friends are happy then I am happy, but on the other hand, this whole incident got me wondering about the way we have evolved in this uninviting society.
Thinking about the advice I had given, I couldn’t help but wonder, if we have all become so emotionally polluted ?
Is not giving a damn, our only hope for emotional survival today?
Let us face it, I am sure most of us had been forced into this awkward moment where a friend desperately seeks our romantic advice. More often than not, the minute someone tells us about a romantic problem where hes/he is being ignored we will switch to “the don’t give a damn” mode. We will probably rush to say “Don’t you dare call the other person, and don’t you dare show that you actually care about being ignored.”
Whether we like it or not, this has been the romantic advice passed on since the beginning of time. To this effect, entire books have been written about the subject of love and winning the heart of the one we love by ignoring. Such books often invite guys and girls to engage in webs of mind games where no party forming the couple says what he/she really wants from the other person, or what he/she wants the other person to do, not do, say, or even not say. The guy and the girl are often told to live their life and not make the significant other a priority.
In fact one book titled “Why Men Marry Bitches” devotes over 300 pages to tips and tricks for girls to follow in pursuit of love, and it doesn’t stop at love, but rather it also tells girls to win the guy and then perform more tricks to keep him long enough to propose.
You are probably wondering what is this secret recipe, and if you are single, you are probably thinking of buying the book to figure out how to achieve this perfect win/win situation, Well save you cash because, surprise surprise, the book in a nutshell tells girls the same thing that their mothers, grandmothers, and friends had told them for years. The book doesn’t engage in rocket science theorems but rather, it simply tells all girls to pretend they don’t care, to let the guy run after them, and to treat the guy like an insignificant entity, just to get him to propose.
The book even encourages girls to cancel appointments, to never pass up an engagement with friends for a guy, and to consciously ignore phone calls just to pretend they have a life.
Funny enough, this is not the only book that advocates such behaviors, Works of fiction since the beginning of time have portrayed the girl who is not trying to get the guy as the winner and the guy who is swearing off girls as every girl’s desire. Think of “Pride and Prejudice”, “Love in the time of Cholera”, and the women in these books. Many books have been written with this same re-occurring theme.
Ahlam Mosteghanemi, the new Arab relationship guru, gets all her popularity by polluting women’s minds into thinking that men are scum and that women are the victims who should arm themselves by the art of forgetting, not caring, and not wanting.
About such advice, a friend of mine who is a devoted Ahlam fan even came up to me the other day and told me how it is a must that I read Ahlam’s latest book translated as “Black Suits You” . Her reasoning was that the book will show me just how selfish men are.
Hearing this heartfelt advice I thought to myself that I may not be up for such a read, and that I am really not in the mood to learn how men are selfish. After all, wouldn’t my life be better not knowing they are selfish and hoping that most of them are actually good people.
You see, according to all these books, men have one thing on their agenda and that is to demolish women. Men apparently are so complicated to the point where a woman is reduced to playing games in order to win the guy.
Similarly, guys are often told to not give a damn about the girl because doing so will make them seem too eager and so the girl is taught to turn down the eager guy and run after the one who treats her like dirt.
See how mixed up all this is? Just think, if we were to break it down, it just means that guys, girls and everybody should hide their real feelings, not care, and trick the others into liking them, when maybe just maybe we are likable people by just being ourselves.
At the end of the day, if it is all a game what happens when the tricks work and the guy and girl actually end up together? Do they say “Game over, now let us be honest?” just wondering.
Moving away from romance, this not caring trick seems to be the remedy everyone advocates in day to day life. For example, we are also told to go to a job interview and not care about wanting the job, not to seem eager, not to ask when to expect feedback, and not to discuss salary. I am thinking, isn’t this a bit odd? After all, why would anyone go to an interview if the job wasn’t significant enough for them at some level? Why is it bad form to ask about the salary when a big portion of our choice to take a job is governed by number?
If a friend hurts us we shouldn’t care enough to say anything and if a parent scared us with hurtful comments we shouldn’t say we were hurt. So basically we are encouraged most of the time not to care, not to ask, not to expect, and not express our emotions.
It is only because we are bombarded with advice on not caring , that we get to a stage in life where we mistake nice for silly, someone liking us for someone being needy, and someone romantic for a freak.You see, the not caring thing may relieve us and shields us from disappointment, but in the long run doesn’t it also make us blank people with no feelings. Doesn’t it put huge barriers to conversation, emotion, and the very attributes that make us human beings with souls?
On a more personal level, I have to say that I am not proud of the advice I had given my friend nor do I think it is healthy to go through life hiding how we really feel. If anything I believe it is exhausting. But on that particular day, my friend was in need for advice and I dished out a dose of reality, even if the reality is bleak.
At the end of the day, I think we have two choices in life, either we continue to live this dark existence where we don’t care and we don’t feel and we don’t let the world know about our decreasing moments of feeling, or we actually decide to care and to show that we care ,even it leaves us with disappointment, success, failure, love, hate, depression or joy. We can choose to simply take the risk and be human.
Having said that, I am wondering, what would you choose?
Is all feeling lost in the age of no innocence?