Tag Archives: humor

5 Red Flags That A Promise Won’t Be Followed Through

The woods are lovely, dark, and deep,
But I have promises to keep,
And miles to go before I sleep,
And miles to go before I sleep.

These words are part of Robert Frost’s famous poem “Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening.” The speaker is mesmerized by the dark woods, but he continues on his way because he has prior obligations. (Literary critics will also add that this poem speaks of a dichotomy between society and nature, but we can save the heated discussion of literary analysis and whether “deep” has ten hidden meanings for a later day.)

Promises are hard to keep. Think of the last time you promised to call a friend, then subsequently forgot because Criminal Minds was on TV.  Or the times you promised to write a letter to Aunt Judy about your school year, but suddenly it’s already final exams time and you haven’t sent a single envelope the entire semester.

Everyone’s life is invariably busy. Distractions get the best of us, and it’s easy to forget small promises. But when you’re on the receiving end of broken promises — or at least promises that were never followed up on — it’s hard not to take it personally.

(This is why lawyers make contracts for everything. Sealed with your DNA, social security number, and birthdate.)

The problem is people tend to overcommit themselves. No one wants to say no to anything. Here are 5 red flags that a promise is likely to be a dud:

1. “Dude, of course I’ll look over your essay later this week.” They say yes now, but unless they pinpoint a specific date and time, they’re not going to do it. “Later this week” is a euphemism for “Um, yeah, I’m not in the mood to follow through right now or anytime soon, so like, let’s wait 3-4 days, after which you and I will both have forgotten about the thing I promised to do.”

2. “Sure! Let me check my schedule and I’ll let you know.” Even worse is when they don’t mention a time period at all. They could technically “let you know” in 90 years and not be in the wrong.

3. “I agree, let’s hang out sometime.” Either they don’t like taking initiatives or they just like putting things off. Similar to the phrase “later this week,” the phrase “sometime” is another way of saying, “I’m not sure about the future, and I’m too lazy to plan ahead right now. I mean, if I really, really, REALLY wanted to hang out you, then I’d be jumping right in to arrange plans now and here. Don’t get offended; most people aren’t in that special 1% group. Nothing personal.”

4. I promise to keep in touch. Probably one of the biggest cliches in history since happily ever after, this phrase is used most often at graduation ceremonies, goodbye parties, and the end of summer friendships. Nobody ever seems to follow through after saying this popular phrase. Never mind the fact that in today’s society, we have email, text messaging, cell phones with video messaging options, instant-messaging, and a plethora of tools that makes the letter-writing Stone Age pale by comparison. Most people seem content with a brief “what’s up lol” online before fading completely into oblivion within 1 to 3 years.

So, my advice? Stop making empty promises. It’s better to under-promise and over-deliver than to over-promise and fall short.

Or, you could sneakily put the responsibility on the other person. “Promise me you’ll keep in touch, okay?”

(If someone says this to you next time, answer with, “I’ll try, but only if you send me three pounds of gourmet cheese in the mail.”)

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There are plenty more fish in the lake…or sea

There are plenty more fish in the sea.

This is a common adage, usually used as a relationship advice for people who’ve just experienced a breakup.

Words are often easier said than done. And when we see the same people in our lives over and over again, it doesn’t take long to lose belief in the popular saying. New fish? Where? The lake is dried up!

In fourth grade, I had my first crush. I still remember his name: Ryan. Ryan had cute blond hair and blue eyes, and he was smart and nice.

Then my family moved a few years later, and I had to attend a new school. Before entering my new class, I was convinced I’d never meet another boy like Ryan again.

Of course, my sixth grade self was proven wrong.

Throughout middle school and high school, I went through a slew of different crushes as I changed schools a few times again. (My family moved around a bit before we finally got settled. On the bright side, I can say I’ve lived in more than 5 different states. Not many people can say that.)

Each time I changed schools, one of my gloomiest thoughts would be, Man, I would never meet another guy as funny/nice/awesome as (insert crush’s name here) again. NEVER! Then I’d be proven wrong less than 2 months later.

But those were my teen years. Now that I’m a full-grown adult (more or less),  it takes more than just good looks and innate ability to win me over. Infatuation is not the same as real love. But even so, the adage still applies to everyday situations outside of the romance box.  It’s not the end of the world if you have to move to the other side of the country and possibly never see that inspiring counselor from summer camp again. It’s okay if you have to leave behind a wonderful community soccer team. It’s all right if it didn’t work out between you and Susie, because there are plenty more fish in the lake. And if not, try the sea. Seriously, have you been to an aquarium before?

And exploring the wider sea is beneficial not only because it allows you to meet new people, but also because it gives you a wider perspective on the world.

Example: Every school year, I get cooped up in the bubble of academia and end up seeing the same faces in my acquaintance circle over and over. One specific guy comes to mind from last year: he’s kind of obnoxious, hogs conversations, and gives three-minute monologues on his viewpoints.

It gets worse.

You might think someone who’s the epitome of an argumentative attention hog wouldn’t be very popular. The scary part is, after 275 days of having to be in the same proximity all the time, he became the ‘king’ of our acquaintance circle. In our limited acquaintance circle, he was the most outgoing and gregarious. Plus he was a top engineer and the most athletic. So naturally, he was Mr. Popular among my acquaintances.

(Probably only among my acquaintances. This is what closed-off academia life does to your judgment.)

It wasn’t until I went to my summer internship that I realized: oh yeah, there are hundreds of people out there who can balance gregariousness and fitness… and also respectfulness! And in the workplace, all types of education shine, not just engineers.

Fish in the sea adage: +1

Psychology has shown that people we’re familiar with are more attractive to us. That’s probably why people tend to date people in their acquaintance circles, whether it’s from school, work, or book club. We’re just more comfortable with people we already know.

But you know, why only eat bass when you can try salmon?

 

 

 

How My First Week Back into Facebook Went

I don’t use Facebook. I know what you’re thinking. Liar! What about this post?

Okay, let me clarify. I stopped using Facebook after my second year of college. (And if anything, that post should offer some good explanations for why.)

Admittedly I lost touch with most of the people whom I went to high school with, but I was never left out. I still had Skype, email, and (wouldn’t you believe it?) text messaging. Gasp,  so I could still communicate with people. Shocker.

Recently, against my better judgment, I decided to reenter the world of Facebook again. Why? Several (*ahem*) important reasons…

  1. My friend who lives 3,242 miles away urged me to rejoin. She and I have been keeping up primarily through text messages.
  2. There was a recent event I attended, and my friends all posted pictures. Normally they’d send me a email link to the pictures, knowing I don’t have Facebook, but there are usually photos that they missed.
  3. There are Facebook groups for the campus organizations I’m a part of.
  4. BECAUSE. JUST BECAUSE.

After a week of non-stop friend requests and bored clicking, here are my responses to the above points in order:

  1. Added friend. We don’t exchange a single word/comment/like on Facebook. She sends me a text message 4 days later and we continue our previous conversations… via text.
  2. Photos? The only thing that changed is now I have to deal with endless notifications about photos I’m tagged in .
  3. The Facebook groups for the campus clubs I’m in don’t seem to post anything of importance. When they do, they also send out an email to all their members anyway.
  4. No. Just no.

There is absolutely nothing worthwhile about rejoining, as I expected.

But it’s a good networking opportunity! On Facebook? Where people post pictures of cat memes and party pics?

You can keep in touch with friends on the other side of the globe! Facebook’s blocked in China, I thought you knew…

You miss important campus news and events! If they were truly important, they’d be forwarded to my email inbox. All the smart event organizers do that, anyway.

It gives you an ego boost when someone likes your photo. ADMIT IT. Eh. But I get more of an ego boost when I realize I have achieved more work in an hour at the library than someone else who surfs Facebook every 15 minutes.

So, BRB, deactivating Facebook again. Unless something dire comes up and requires me to use a social media site. In which case, hello? WordPress, anyone?

Extra reading on the merits and non-merits of Facebook by one of the most influential writers for college students of all time (disclaimer: no, it’s not me).

Case Studies: A Look at Two Interesting College Students

 

I should probably start off with one of my favorite quotes from a favorite book. “Whenever you feel like criticizing any one, just remember that all the people in this world haven’t had the advantages that you’ve had.” (F. Scott Fitzgerald in The Great Gatsby)

Admit it, we tend to poke fun at the hillbillies in the southern woods of Tennessee, And society as a whole generally looks down at someone with a menial job.

I guess I used to join in the laughter. It was so silly when my uncle thought you could open the windows during an airplane ride. How did he not know temperatures at altitudes of 10,000 feet were below freezing point?

But his ignorance doesn’t give me the right to ridicule him. Plenty of people have never studied physics. It’s true that knowledge is power, but doesn’t that just emphasize how we should be responsible with the power? Imagine a little boy who asks the teacher a naive question, and the teacher snorts, “How can you not know that? Psh, idiot!” in return.

It’s not necessary to gloat about prestige and intellect. Unfortunately, when you mesh with a bunch of 20-year-olds in college, you tend to get full heaps of gloat.

So now comes the fun part: unofficial case studies of fellow peers.

There are several college students I know who relish in the fact that they’re knowledgeable. They know they’re smart. . . oh, do they know it. And you’ll know it too–not because they’ve won the Nobel Peace Prize or the Fulbright or anything, but because they make it known.

Whenever they can.

Of course, they do it discreetly. You know that saying about never noticing anything small until it happens directly to you? (No, I haven’t heard that saying either; I just made it up actually.) Basically, when they’re not talking to you, you don’t realize anything’s off. They seem pretty modest, in fact. They’re eager to learn and happy to share knowledge. Then you have a direct one-to-one conversation with them, and. . .oh.

Let’s do a case study of Alex* and Bob*

(*names changed)

Continue reading Case Studies: A Look at Two Interesting College Students

To the Social Science Majors…

Throughout the past couple of weeks, I’ve realized that those in social science concentrations like to speak in abstract language.

Even more so than literary critics. And yes, that seems almost impossible.

I don’t understand why historians need to bolster their articles and writings with pretentious writing that only serves to validate how they’re on a higher plane of intellect than the rest of us. (Okay, we get it, liberalism embellished the independence of society and the underlying hierarchy of common welfare as we know it. Next time, rewrite using ordinary language, please?)

Each week, our history class is required to post on our online class discussion forum. Usually people ask questions about the reading. But of course, instead of asking straight-to-the-point questions, they convolute their prose into Social Studies Slang.

What is the Social Studies Slang? See if you can figure it out by yourself first. Here are some examples.

To what extent are our social relations, and the roots of “individual freedom,” grounded in economic calculus and capitalistic progress?

As a math lover, I was disheartened to see the word calculus used in this context. Concrete math has become abstract theory. (Although technically, calculus math-wise is still pretty abstract.) (Wait… does this mean we can combine random words like Lewis Carroll did in Alice in Wonderland?)

 How were these racial stereotypes established in order to maintain the hierarchy or exclude the freedom rights conferred to individuals from certain groups?

One line summary in ordinary language: How did racism exclude peoples’ rights?

The advantages of some merchant suppliers appeared to deprive myriad small producers and consumers in the towns and countryside of similar opportunities for gain, and when the periodic profiteering became a habit which knew no restraint during wartime necessity and which, in post-revolutionary years, grew to a mania of speculation…

I think my AP Lang teacher back in high school would blow a gasket if she saw this in a student’s paper. No, seriously, whatever happened to “conciseness”?

However, I admit the Social Studies Slang is fun to use when you’re trying to impress someone at a fancy dinner party. (Or when you’re trying to fill up blank pages in an essay.) All you need to remember are the Four Golden Rules of Social Studies Slang:

  1. The more words the better.
  2. Never use short sentences, such as the one used above; instead, incorporate as many semicolons, commas, and other devices to join separate clauses, as embellishing sentences makes you seem erudite and informed.
  3. Always use abstract words that have multiple meanings. Prime favorites are government, the people, individualism, establishment, and society.
  4. This is not science writing. Do not get to the point of what you’re trying to say; instead, lead the reader through a maze of unnecessary detail. (Because history is so amazing, who doesn’t want to know every minuscule piece of information??)

Accepting: Losing the Election

If you live in the US, the upcoming presidential election is a pretty big deal. Whether you’re a die-hard Republican or a Obama fan (or economist who doesn’t care who wins as long as the recession fixes itself), elections are exciting events.

But while everyone congratulates the winner after results are posted, does anyone take notice of the … well, loser? To realize that at least half of the country doesn’t support you has to be somewhat shattering to your self-esteem.

In high school, I made the mistake of running for Vice President of Beta Club. So, this is how the election process in our happy little club is run:

1. Student submits official statement saying he/she is running for:

  • President (whose name appears at the top of fliers)
  • Vice President (who’s actually responsible for everything)
  • Secretary (who “takes notes” at meetings. Notice the quotation marks.)
  • Treasurer (who collects dues at the beginning of the year and then is deemed useless)
  • Parliamentarian (who announces when each meeting is over…yeah, no comment.)

2. Student makes a 30-second speech at the next meeting in front of 94 members waiting impatiently for the meeting to be over.

3. Everyone votes on a piece of paper.

4. Results are posted the next day.

5. Winners get hearty congratulations. Losers disappear into… oblivion.

As a natural introvert, I did not like the prospect of delivering a speech in front of 15 and 16-year-old, easily bored adolescents. I’m sweating in my seat, waiting for my turn to speak. Suddenly the words jumbled inside my mind. Am I running for VP or Treasurer again?

My perfect speech would have went something like, “I am responsible, dedicated, and dependable. You can trust me to handle every detail.” You know, something cheesy and cliched. Instead, I stuttered out my name, mentioned some jumbo about “being trustworthy with money,” and ended with “If you want the best, vote for the last!” (Because I was the last person to deliver my speech. Yeah… I don’t think my fellow students caught that reference.)

To be honest, high school elections are basically popularity contests. If you have a giant circle of friends and are generally likable, then nobody cares if your speech comprised only three words: “Vote for me.”

Needless to say, I lost. It was embarrassing since only two of us ran for VP, so I knew more than half the room didn’t vote for me. I know I shouldn’t have taken it personally, but boy, was my self-esteem shattered. The fact that my opponent’s friends all flocked around her like mockingbirds and saying things like, “Ha! I knew you’d win” and “Was there any doubt?” didn’t help much.

But in the end, we can trust fate to put us on the right path. Not winning an election isn’t the end of the world. Hey, at least you had the guts and commitment to run in the first place. Not a lot of people are willing to put themselves in the middle of the auditorium to try to convince the public that he or she is a good candidate.

Besides, think about past elections where you had to place a vote. The school board, student council, sports committee, art club… Afterwards, did you make a big deal about whoever lost? Did you think to yourself, “Oh man, Xavier is clearly a better person overall than Jane because he won and she lost!”

Reality Check: How Romantic…Right?

Have you ever noticed how romance novels and movies always find their way to the bestsellers list? (Especially on Valentine’s Day, but we’ll discuss the commercial holiday of Hershey’s kisses some other time.)

The thing is, romantic notions in books are not idealistic in real life. Far from it.

In 9th grade, I had a stubborn classmate who was resolute in his opinion that I loved him because he, a 14-year-old boy going through puberty at the time,  liked me as more than a friend loved me so of course we were meant to be.

In a romance novel, this plot would induce ahhs and affectionate gasps from readers who are expecting some sort of The Taming of the Shrew story line. Sorry folks, no such thing. I was actually pretty annoyed that he was so obstinate. I mean, it’s one thing to form a crush on a girl (adolescents, what can you expect?) but to declare that she definitely liked him back? Excuse me, does the girl have no say?

Jane Austen would sympathize.

 

 

Here are some examples from popular books, movies, and songs for which ladies go ga-ga and guys try to replicate.

  1. The Notebook. Noah stalks Allie at the fair. After she turns him down the first few times, he chases her atop a merry-go-round and threatens to jump unless she goes out with him. The audience forgives him because Ryan Gosling is a stud muffin and is the equivalent of Prince Charming, but seriously?
  2. Beauty and the Beast. Now, I’m a huge fan of this Disney classic. It teaches people to look past the exterior. Still, a monstrous beast kidnaps the girl and forces her to live with him. But again, since we all know he’s a handsome Prince Charming underneath, all is well.
  3. Twilight. Sorry, Stephenie Meyer fans, but if my boyfriend secretly climbed into my room each night to watch me fall asleep, the first thing I’m thinking of is installing a new alarm system.
  4. “Say You Like Me” by We the Kings. About a guy who admires a girl who doesn’t say hi back because she’s “too shy to say hello.” (How do you know that? What if she’s just trying to give you a hint, Mr. Smooth?) Then the lyrics go, “I’m never giving up, I’m never gonna leave, so put your hands up. If you like me, then say you like me. Oh-oh-oh-oh-oh-oh (repeat x3).” Enough said.
  5. 27 Dresses. Another chick flick where the handsome guy stalks a girl, only this time there’s a good excuse: he’s a reporter! And she’s single! How convenient

 

Still, the romantic aspect appeals greatly to some people. One only needs to glance at the plethora of romantic Fanfiction online to tell our society’s current interests. Granted, half of them are written by bored preteens with no homework on the weekends, but I still want to sue for copyright infringement when I hear of Fanfic stories regarding Harry Potter and Hermione “moving past third base.” But if J.K. Rowling’s not upset, why should I be?

Anyway, back to that guy I mentioned earlier. In middle school, apparently he wrote a fictional story online based on me. He didn’t use my real name or anything (good for him; otherwise he’d run into some libel suits right about now) but it was still… uncomfortable, to say the least. A small excerpt:

He enveloping her in a passionate kiss. He tugged on her gently toward the tent, and she went along with him. The fire burned, ignored by the two lovers.

 

It’s all fun and games until you find yourself the lead in someone’s fictional romance story. One, you’re scared to wonder what else went through their heads. And two, well… it’s just awkward. On the bright side, my character in the story was a super assassin. So I suppose that balances out the other stuff.