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It’s Okay to Not Always Be the Cool Girl

Sounds kind of boring, actually

04.13.17
You Dont Have to Be Cool Man Repeller Feature 2
Laugh it the Fuck Off Month
Laugh it the Fuck Off Month

The other day, I awoke to a text from my friend that had a sneaky way of fucking my day up. He’d sent a bad photo of me to a group thread — a throwback, sort of, but recent enough to be embarrassing — and he’d presented it without comment, presumably for a laugh. Within seconds, my mind jumped through a bunch of shitty self-esteem hoops. I immediately knew it was my duty to laugh with, so as not to be laughed at.

“Tragic,” I quickly shot off, pretending I hadn’t felt anything but the casual coolness I decided that word conveyed. For a while, I almost convinced myself that was true. I wanted to believe nothing so superficial had the power to nudge me off balance, you know? I’m past that shit! Hours later, I realized my entire day had sucked. That I’d lumbered through it with a subtle undercurrent of despair.

When I finally revisited the text in my mind, I felt so frustrated. Not at the friend who sent it – it wasn’t out of malice — but at all the little factors that made my response feel so familiar. I felt heavy with the realization that he could never truly understand why a text like that could make me feel powerless. It was a dark path to go down from an arguably benign exchange, but on that particular day, for no particular reason, I just felt so tired of playing it cool.

In the weeks since that day, I’ve been thinking a lot about that voice in my head. The one that urges me to be amenable. To play it just the right amount of casual. To respond in a way I’ve deemed stable and correct, instead of the way that feels most honest. It’s baked into most of us, the shying away from overly emoting. I don’t know where we learned it, but it seems we’ve all privately agreed it’s kind of lame to appear too anything. Excited, happy, touchy, sensitive, angry, whatever.

In case you need reminding — because evidently I still do from time to time — you can say fuck off to that voice whenever you want to. You don’t have to play it cool. You don’t have to act like the person that said that thing didn’t hurt you. You don’t have to act like you’re confident when you don’t feel like it, or like you’re fine when really you’re boiling over. If someone says something that makes you feel small, you don’t have to pack it in your proverbial lunch box and carry it around in your gut. That doesn’t have to be your responsibility. Your response can be the messy one that makes everyone uncomfortable, even you. Sometimes that might feel better than protecting your reputation. It could be worth it, the freedom of turning off all those filters.

Later that night, I confessed the whole situation to a friend who’d picked up on my gloominess. I told him that I was really tired of the burden of caring about my appearance that day, that sometimes it takes an incredible emotional toll. And in the process of all that honesty, he learned a lot about how it feels to be a woman and I learned a lot simply by voicing something I don’t often say aloud. It was the very opposite of playing it cool and I felt curiously free.

Collage by Emily Zirimis; photos via Getty Images.

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  • Harling Ross

    I love this essay, Hales. “I told him that I was really tired of the burden of caring about my appearance that day, that sometimes it takes an incredible emotional toll.” –> I copy and pasted this sentence into my phone because it’s the perfect way of saying something I feel so often. <3 Bleh <3

    • Melissa

      I need this sentence as a phone background.

      • ashley

        a.greed.

  • I totally agree Haley !
    I am mostly about keeping everything in but have learnt that talking about it and letting it out is much more useful sometimes ! to both you and others, as they can’t know they hurt you if you don’t show it 😉

    xx

    M

  • K

    Thank you for this. 🙂

  • Abby

    I have never been and never will be cool. Like, I came to terms with that fact a long time ago. I’m fairly certain I behave in a way that the kids would call “extra” and sometimes you just gotta own it, you know?

  • Molly D

    Duuude yes.

    Yesterday I wore an outfit and went searching in my phone for when I wore the same thing a year ago when I was like, 3 pounds thinner. Then hated myself for doing this.

    This is the cost of the recent “be in IN love with your body and all your chins and dark circles under your eyes” movement. We feel guilty and uncool and beat ourselves up if we don’t. Not saying we shouldn’t love ourselves how we are, but the demand that society is simultaneously putting on us women of like “get a beach body!” AND “take selfies when you have acne and frame them on the wall!” is TOO MUCH. So then we don’t know how to react.

    Reminds me of the self-respect/self-love article you guys had a few weeks ago. So good. Haley you’re so good too and your honesty is THE BEST.

  • Mary | O Blog da Mary

    You just captured EXACTLY what it feels like. Seriously, no one should be able to make anyone feel like that, but even with nothing, we do; after spending a few weeks when everyday felt exactly like that, I learnt that just standing in front of the mirror, facing the thing you’re not confident about and just saying “could be worse” really helps!

  • Kay Nguyen

    I have never been cool and I don’t think I want to be. I’m cool if I want myself to be, not validation from anybody. Keep being yourself <3

    https://www.myblackcloset.com/

  • Giulia Bottaro

    Well said! I also hate with all my heart the whole “playing it cool” thing in relationships. That is utter bullshit. I stopped pretending everything is okay with my boyfriend just to avoid looking like a crazy needy ass. He signed up for it so he has to get also that version of myself – and it upsets me when my friends play it cool with their boyfriends too. Everyone should be able to accept they are feeling whatever they are feeling even if they’re not supposed to.

  • Suzan

    Great article, Haley! The last paragraph ties it nicely together and also voices the thing I thought throughout the article: if you don’t tell people that something they did makes you feel shitty, then there is no evidence to that and people have no idea it does (and so perhaps continue doing it). Could become a vicious cycle till one snaps (and THEN emotional psycho drama comes out).
    But still a fine line to walk… you don’t want to point out _every_ little thing that makes you feel shitty in fear of becoming the whiner. Sometimes you gotta pick your battles.

    • ES

      I agree with you about the fine line to walk … In other words, I think it is a balancing act. I don’t think that we should stomach every little thing that hurts us. We should be okay with speaking up even if it makes us less cool. … but I have recently been trying to figure out how to respond to a best friend who is constantly bothered, offended or hurt by something. She often communicates it in a way that makes me feel like she is disgusted or ashamed of the person who is the root of the “issue” – when we are together, often that person is me or my husband or another one of our close friends. It is a hard situation to describe, but it makes me weary of spending time with this friend because it is very draining. Any advice would be appreciated!

      To go back to the idea of balance and choosing your battles: I *absolutely* think we need to accept that we won’t always be the chill cool girl in every situation. We need to stand up for ourselves. But I think that an important part of this conversation is learning to laugh at ourselves when the time is right.

      I love Haley’s article. It provides valuable insight into one aspect of identifying and responding to our emotions.

      • Suzan

        Oof yes that is a tough nut, the situation with your friend… I think maybe you can condition her in a nice way that her reasoning is not OK. Perhaps start by acknowledging her feelings and the situation that makes her bothered (at least if it’s legit), so she doesn’t feel attacked by what comes next: kindly explaining that – even though you understand her feelings – it is not your/husband’s/other friend’s fault that she feels like that. And then see what the core issue is and try to find a solution together for that and then suggest ice-cream of something to lighten the mood 🙂

        Sounds a bit heavy handed maybe, but I do think that it’s important for her to realise that she is projecting (without making her feel like she’s being attacked). Ugh, easier said than done! I have a somewhat similar thing with a friend and my “solution” was to just not put too much of myself in that relationship anymore, because it was just draining too much energy. Which doesn’t really solve anything, but only waters down the friendship, which is kinda sad but I just wasn’t prepared to keep it up (or to attend the problem head on).

        • ES

          Thank you for your reply, Suzan 🙂 I hope you have a beautiful weekend.

          • Suzan

            Wishing you the same!

  • Trishita

    Oh wow. Haley, you read my mind.

    I’m always the un-cool girl and I feel very conscious about it. But it seeps into my interactions bit by bit.. it’s always so annoying to hear someone say to you, “But can’t you take a joke?”. UGH.

    • Trishita

      And I kinda hate myself that, though I want to share this lovely article on social media, I’m also not doing it because that will lead to more “Are you Serious-es?!”

      • Share it! I feel like that’s the first step toward authenticity and letting go of your ‘cool.’ I take myself too seriously all the time and it’s exhausting and no fun.

        • Trishita

          I did it! Got a few eye-rolls but it was kind of cathartic.. Thanks 🙂

  • ValiantlyVarnished

    Great post! I think it does get easier to be okay with not being the cool girl as you get older. In my twenties it mattered so much and had a direct bearing on how I thought of myself. Now in my thirties I’m a bit *shoulder-shrug* about it. And all of my friends are the same way (we are all in our thirties now). We have all kind of stopped caring about that (most of the time- we all have bad days – being a girl is hard) – and as a result our friendships have become more honest and authentic.

  • Cristina

    My first thought when I read that a friend had sent a photo to a group text was, “Wow, that friend is a douche.” Seriously though, I don’t think there’s ever a reason for a friend to put another friend down, even as a joke. We all have enough blah days without our friends adding to it. I’m cool, not cool and everything in between but the bottom line is I am UNAPOLOGETICALLY me. My hair is a hot mess, no amount of expensive product can tame that. My eyebrows will also be slightly thinner than I wish at the arches. Jeans never fit my hips and my thighs, my glasses are coke bottles and my dark circles rival moon craters. I don’t “body positive” love these things about myself and if anyone ever starts a campaign to love their dark circles…. like… please let Jesus come before then.

  • Alexis Thomolaris

    ILY Haley. You just get it. Let’s say “fuck off” to that voice more often. It’s liberating!

  • Oh, Haley, yes to all of this.

    Recently (recently being this morning, like 2 hours ago) I caught myself in an act I’ve been doing all the damn time lately: I’ll notice myself being perturbed about something, or stressed, or another 100% normal human emotion, in the presence of another human, and I’ll feel the need to blurt out, “Oh I’m not annoyed at you! Just at the situation!” It’s like I’m terrified of being viewed as a person with any emotion other than total benign polite neutrality. WHAT IS THAT?

    The kicker is that most of the time? Most of the time the people in my presence probably don’t even really register my emotions, because in all likelihood they’re focusing on their own.

    • Carson McCrullers

      Same! I really hate that I feel this compulsion to preemptively apologize for my human emotions. Last month my boss made me cry over a PowerPoint slide, and as soon as I felt the first tear hit my cheek I said, I’M SORRY.

      • Right? Preemptively apologizing for my human emotions. I do it all the time. Sorry about your boss by the way; can’t we all just, I don’t know, release our PowerPoint slides out into the word in peace??

  • snakehissken

    I always thought of it as “being a good sport” and it’s been weighing on me since middle school. It sucks – I’m sensitive and I care about people deeply, and being the cool girl feels like I have to hide those things… but they’re also the things that make my closest friends really like me.

  • 20 oz filet

    I think a lot of women struggle with this bullshit. I’ve given up on being the cool, chill, guy’s girl. It’s just another way to suppress outspoken women, which I believe men and sometimes women despise.

    When ever I hear “cool girl”, i automatically think of Gone Girl. This quote is everything. . . even if Amazing Amy is a psychopath.

    “Men actually think this girl exists. Maybe they’re fooled because so many women are willing to pretend to be this girl. For a long time Cool Girl offended me. I used to see men – friends, coworkers, strangers – giddy over these awful pretender women, and I’d want to sit these men down and calmly say: You are not dating a woman, you are dating a woman who has watched too many movies written by socially awkward men who’d like to believe that this kind of woman exists and might kiss them. I’d want to grab the poor guy by his lapels or messenger bag and say: The bitch doesn’t really love chili dogs that much – no one loves chili dogs that much! And the Cool Girls are even more pathetic: They’re not even pretending to be the woman they want to be, they’re pretending to be the woman a man wants them to be. Oh, and if you’re not a Cool Girl, I beg you not to believe that your man doesn’t want the Cool Girl. It may be a slightly different version – maybe he’s a vegetarian, so Cool Girl loves seitan and is great with dogs; or maybe he’s a hipster artist, so Cool Girl is a tattooed, bespectacled nerd who loves comics. There are variations to the window dressing, but believe me, he wants Cool Girl, who is basically the girl who likes every fucking thing he likes and doesn’t ever complain. (How do you know you’re not Cool Girl? Because he says things like: “I like strong women.” If he says that to you, he will at some point fuck someone else. Because “I like strong women” is code for “I hate strong women.”)”

    • Hellbetty666

      I fucking love that quote. And, whisper it, I kind of love Amy too!

    • You do know that your reply is its own book, on the humor-self-help shelf, right? You must know that. In fact I won’t keep you from the next chapter. Will only leave you with the working title: No One Loves Chili Dogs That Much…and Other Alternative Facts About The Mythological ‘Cool’ Girl.

    • Selina Moses

      The cool girl is a reflective mould of whatever her boyfriend desires. Men can be so easily fooled

  • Gracie

    I love this essay. One time I was sitting in a group of friends and jokingly said that I would like to see a bad movie, and they each called me an idiot in some form. My boyfriend was there and he didn’t insult me, but I found myself really sad that he didn’t stand up for me. But why would he stand up for me if I never stand up for myself when I’m the butt of the joke? It’s so hard to say, “This hurt my feelings. I want an apology, but then I want to move on and have a good time, while hopefully being a little more respectful of each other.”

  • doublecurl

    “I was really tired of the burden of caring about my appearance that day, that sometimes it takes an incredible emotional toll” SAY IT LOUDER

  • I think since college I’ve tried to resign myself that I’m not naturally cool, and that others work so hard to be that way. I like to care about things, get excited, show who I am, and while I sometimes think it counts against me, I know it’s right for me. I can’t change who I am, and more, I don’t want to! It’s taken me a long time to get here!

    In college I had several friends who were the laugh at you, not with you, kind of people, and while there was some sad days there, I wish I had turned around and found friends who accepted me for who I am, cool or uncool. I have now found several women that share my sentiment on this. If you have to pretend to be cool to fit in, you’re hanging out with the wrong friends.

    http://www.shessobright.com

  • Bo

    A friend of mine did something similar to me years ago, when apparently there was some photo on Facebook of me, totally wasted, making out with some guy at a party – not my finest hour, and definitely not something I did on the regular. (I prefer to lure in unsuspecting men and take them for drives, then make them pay for gas when I pull into the service station). Anyway, this totally random girl had taken and posted a photo of us (which is a weird thing to do in itself, right?). I wasn’t friends with her on Facebook so I couldn’t see it, but I felt uncomfortable that there was a veritable bevy of strangers all looking at it and passing totally inaccurate judgements about me; on top of that I’m just naturally pretty private/am a terrible millennial and don’t like a whole lot about myself to be online. Due to not being friends with her, I couldn’t make contact and ask her to take it down, but my friend knew her, so I asked him to talk to her instead. And he did, but you know what he did first? He shared it on like 3 separate social media accounts to his 5000+ friends, but hid the post so I couldn’t see what he’d done. So I got all these bizarre inboxes and texts from acquaintances (and some from total strangers, yay) making all kinds of comments, for like, three days. It was fucking scary, especially because I didn’t know what my friend had done; I only found out what he’d done because the guy I’d made out with had seen it and told me about what had happened (I asked and no, he hadn’t been inundated with messages from total randoms calling him a ‘textbook slut’).

    When I confronted my friend about it, he was like “yeah I just did it for a last hurrah you know it was funny” – and I went fucking berserk at him. I touched upon a range of topics, from ‘Why Did You Do This, I Mean How Little Respect Do You Have For Me As A Friend (And For Women In General)’, to ‘Who Is This Creepo Girl You Know Who Takes Pictures of Drunk Strangers Anyway’, and of course, ‘How Hard Is It To Do One Simple Favour For A Friend Who Is Feeling Vulnerable And Needs Your Help?’.
    I wasn’t cool that day. I shouted so much my hair went all weird and I was red-faced and crying and hiccoughing by the end of it. I broke into a sweat, that’s how much I cut loose at him. It was like a workout. In closing arguments (wHOA pun intended) I slammed the door when I walked out. Later in the day, I sent follow up texts reminding him of the shitty thing he’d done, to which he didn’t reply. I was the Uncoolest Girl Ever and I don’t regret it for a second.
    This was all like 5 years ago and is all water under the bridge now; my friend who shared the photo is still my friend, but our relationship and lives have changed to a point where he now looks up to me. The feminist in me likes to think my Uncool Afternoon had something to do with it, but it may be that he’s just matured, and has probably fallen in love with me because I’m pretty great, even when I’m uncool. NO – especially when I’m uncool.

  • Fezzers

    This is so perfect right now. I struggle with panic attacks and anxiety, but I always try to shove it all down and play it super cool because for some reason it feels embarrassing or even inappropriate to have feelings that aren’t just “happy” or “chill”.

  • Nahman strikes again. Two separate discussions here – existential and social. I appreciate your critique of the conflation of indifference with ‘cool’. The whole of society suffers for it; encounters lack the authenticity born of access to our full emotional range. Perhaps that very awkwardness is a map to our insular awareness as well as intimacy with others. Existentially, thank you, Brene Brown and any others who are committed to the academic study and public discourse on vulnerability. Raw, we get real.

    Still? The other conversation? Social. By that, I mean social constructs. One demography of female expressed emotion can too easily be framed as hysterical (hormonal) or just bitchy. Or Hillary. Another demography of female expressed emotion can be framed as stereotypically ‘angry’ or even a downright criminal threat. For some, the maddening veneer of ‘cool’ becomes an essential tool for survival – over a work lunch or water cooler, let alone traffic stop. The acid witticism hits the air as the jaw clinches beneath that forced, false smile. Some resting faces must keep the lip up-turned while others make sure teeth stay on the seen. Loss of such ‘cool’ – from a particular demographic – can result in tragic consequence. My observation does not seek to indict privilege. Contrarily, such inference might distance the very possibility I seek to promote. I encourage those who can test the parameters or rolling fulltiltboogie, with less at stake, to raise a little more hell. And just for the hell of it.

  • Nahman strikes again. Two separate discussions here – existential and social. I appreciate your critique of the conflation of indifference with ‘cool’. The whole of society suffers for it; encounters lack the authenticity born of access to our full emotional range. Perhaps that very awkwardness is a map to our insular awareness as well as intimacy with others. Existentially, thank you, Brene Brown, now Nahman, and any others who are committed to the academic study and/or public discourse on vulnerability. Raw, we get real.

    Still? The other conversation? Social. By that, I mean social constructs. One demography of female expressed emotion can too easily be framed as hysterical (hormonal) or just bitchy. Or Hillary. Another demography of female expressed emotion can be framed as stereotypically ‘angry’ or even a downright criminal threat. For some, the maddening veneer of ‘cool’ becomes an essential tool for survival – over a work lunch or water cooler, let alone, traffic stop. The acid witticism hits the air as the jaw clinches beneath that forced, false smile. Some resting faces must keep the lip up-turned while others make sure teeth stay on the seen. Loss of such ‘cool’ – from a particular demographic – can result in tragic consequence. My observation does not seek to indict privilege. Contrarily, such inference might distance the very possibility I seek to promote. I encourage those who can test the parameters or rolling fulltiltboogie, with less at stake, to raise a little more hell. And just for the hell of it.

  • Annie M.

    Amen, preach, snaps, claps, and everything in between.

    Just before reading this I had a conversation with a good friend about an interaction I had earlier this week with a tepid man I’ve been involved with. He decided to text me out of the blue then never respond to my reply. In a moment of ‘un-cool’ I sent a second reply to say maybe he didn’t care what I thought (!). Of course, every damn anxiety possible ran through my mind, but most prominently was ‘girls who have their shit together never react like that’ and ‘why can’t you just ignore him? that’s what empowered people do.’ I even apologized for being ‘bitchy’ because I was so worried he’d think less of me for sharing what I really think.

    My very smart friend chastised me for thinking that I didn’t deserve to show someone my real emotions when someone is treating me poorly. So what if I say something snippy? If I don’t ever allow myself to expect someone to respect me, I’m going to find myself continually putting up with behavior that upsets me and punishing myself for being TOO MUCH.

    Not that life should be tit for tat, but we’ve been so trained to ‘suck it up’ and ‘be COOL’ about everything. However, that runs counter to us ever asking for respect or generally what we want from other people. And it’s okay to want and feel things! No one is supposed to be anything and we should stop trying to ascribe a word for ourselves or our behaviors other than ‘honest.’

  • Mary Kate Kloeblen

    Yes!!

    Lately, I feel like I’ve been playing the balancing act game (more like trying to stay afloat game) between my work life and personal life while attempting to make it seem like it’s all been effortless. Seriously, this post could not come at a better time to serve as reminder that it’s okay to let that “cool girl” image slip and say no the pressures we put on ourselves. We as women face so many pressures to be effortless/”cool” in so many areas of our lives, it’s beyond refreshing to know there are many others out there feeling the same exhaustion from time to time. Thank you, thank you, thank you!!

  • Nahman strikes again. Two separate discussions here – existential and social. I appreciate your critique of the conflation of indifference with ‘cool’. The whole of society suffers for it; encounters lack the authenticity born of access to our full emotional range. Perhaps that very awkwardness is a map to our insular awareness as well as intimacy with others. Existentially, thank you, Brene Brown, now Nahman, and any others who are committed to the academic study and/or public discourse on vulnerability. Raw, we get real.

    Still? The other conversation? Social. By that, I mean social constructs. One demography of female expressed emotion can too easily be framed as hysterical (hormonal), humorless, or just bitchy. Or Hillary. Another demography of female expressed emotion can be framed as stereotypically ‘angry’, an attitude problem, or even a downright criminal threat. For some, the maddening veneer of ‘cool’ becomes an essential tool for survival – over a work lunch or water cooler, let alone, bogus traffic stop. A ‘cooler’ head comes to the defense of a broken heart. A familiar, acid witticism hits the air as the jaw clinches beneath that forced, false smile. Some resting faces must keep the lip up-turned while others make sure teeth stay on the scene. Loss of such ‘cool’ – from a particular demographic – can result in tragic consequence. My observation does not seek to indict privilege. Contrarily, such inference might distance the very possibility I seek to promote. I encourage those who can test the parameters of rolling fulltiltboogie, with less at stake, to take joy in reacting a bit more recklessly. Raise a little more hell…just for the hell of it.

  • Nahman strikes again. Two separate discussions here – existential and social. I appreciate your critique of the conflation of indifference with ‘cool’. Cynicism has also become cool’s unjust synonym. The whole of society suffers for it; encounters lack the authenticity born of access to our full emotional range. Perhaps, that very awkwardness is a map to our insular awareness as well as intimacy with others. Existentially, thank you, Brene Brown, now Nahman, and any others who are committed to the academic study and/or public discourse on vulnerability. Raw, we get real.

    Still? There is another conversation here. By that, I mean a certain social construct. The dominant demography of female expressed emotion can too easily be framed as hysterical (hormonal), or oddly, just the opposite, humorless. Then there’s a special category, sequestered to the woods: Hillary. The marginal demography of female expressed emotion can be framed as stereotypically ‘angry’, an attitude problem, or even a downright criminal threat. For some, the maddening veneer of ‘cool’ becomes an essential tool for survival – over a work lunch or water cooler, let alone, bogus traffic stop. A ‘cooler’ head comes to the defense of a broken heart. A familiar, acid witticism hits the air as the jaw clinches beneath that forced, false smile. Some resting faces must keep the lip up-turned while others make sure teeth stay on the scene. Loss of such ‘cool’ – from a particular demographic – can result in tragic consequence. My observation does not seek to indict privilege. Contrarily, such inference might distance the very possibility I seek to promote. I encourage those who can test the parameters of responding fulltiltboogie, with less at stake, to take pleasure, and more so vigilance, in both the option and responsibility of a vulnerable reaction. Vulnerability, at its core, confronts insecurity. Nothing raises hell like vulnerability. Raise it.

  • I actually am in the middle of a workplace situation which is requiring me to not play it cool at all. And it is so confusing for me! I feel like an overly-sensitive feminist, but have to keep reminding myself that what I’m doing is right. Fighting the ingrained “play it cool, don’t overreact” tendencies is really conflicting! Also…really energizing. I want a job where I can always feel this passionate…

  • I feel this on such a spiritual level. After college it’s like a wave of sensitivity and emotions sort of took over. Like something deep inside me told me that since I’m a “real adult” now I should stop hiding myself. Lately if I argue with a friend or loved one they’ll say I’m being “too sensitive” and my response is “yeah, I’m sensitive…. I’m a human being with emotions and you just pissed me off.” That definitely doesn’t make me the cool girl but I’m so beyond caring.

  • Selina Moses

    I’ve never been cool. So I can’t say I’m missing much if I never had it. People make fun of me a lot but I’m ok with it because I’m just being myself and they are all sheep

  • Holly Laine Mascaro

    I very much get this, on an even deeper level – I have several heavy aspects to my past and childhood, and oftentimes little comments get made or phrases get used thoughtlessly by friends or people around me, and I’m so used to just not wanting to suddenly turn the conversation dark or make it about myself, so I live with the discomfort I feel just to ensure others don’t feel uncomfortable. And at this point, I have decided to do that less – let other people feel uncomfortable. Maybe they SHOULD think more about their audience when making certain flippant remarks. I’m trying to live with keeping my discomfort less inside myself, and turning into a shared discomfort — because oftentimes that leads to a more open and honest conversation anyway and both parties can feel better about it.