So over 32 long years you pick up a thing or 2 that will inevitably help you out in life. Most of these are things that you already know. Lord knows I am making the list, but still miss some occasionally. So read carefully even if the benefits are not immediately evident sooner or later you will thank me, or have some horrible story about how you should have paid better attention.
0000000. Never say anything to any woman about being pregnant.
Even if you know for a fact that she is pregnant or are really sure she is pregnant. You never know something could have happened and now she is not any more, or maybe she has gotten some news about the pregnancy and really does not want to talk about it. Even if you are OK 95%of the time there is that 1/20 chance that you will have a woman who is totally pissed off at you, or worse she could cry. Either way, why chance it especially when she is chocked full of hormones.
Here is an idea you can ask her Some innocuous idle conversation question. "so how have things been with you?" Now if she wants to talk about being pregnant or tell you how things are going with the pregnancy she can. If she does not she won't, but best of all she is not pissed off at you... or if she is, it is for a different reason. If it helps just ask all of the questions that you really want to ask, but take out the words pregnant and baby.
"Have you been updating your house?"
"How has your health been?"
"Has your Husband been helpful lately?"
"Are you interested in finding out about sex?"... (strike that one)
"Man what was up with John and the weird questions."
The obvious exception is your siblings are open game for wild speculation and accusations. Especially if they turned down a glass of wine at dinner... Ah Ha!
0000001. Don't give people relationship advice
This one is really hard because you have so many opinions you would like to express. I know I do, but please keep them to your self. First of all never offer unsolicited advice. However, sometimes your friends come to you asking for advice about a troubled relationship. You really have only one move here. Quietly listen and offer your sympathy and support. Sure you
have seen how horrible their significant other is, and you know they should really not be together, but voicing that opinion will only lead to down one of 2 horrible paths. If they do not break up now you are the person who hates their soul mate, Now you have to wait for the relationship to end before you can be friends again. Or the best you can hope for is that they break up and you are the one who broke them up.
Either way, congratulations you are a horrible friend.
So what can you do? You can sway opinion just by actively listening, and impressing your body language upon your friend. You can say volumes by how supportive you are. After all if you are close enough friends that they are coming to you for relationship advice, they probably know you well enough that they already know what your opinions are. Now all you have to do is say "I understand your difficulties" instead of "You need to drop that loser and get yourself a real man (snap)". Also points off for "I've never really liked them" or "I've never thought this was a good relationship".
Exceptions will be granted for "abusive" relationships, after you complete the "losing friend : getting them out of the relationship" cost benefit analysis form.
00000010. Don't tell anyone a anything that you don't want everyone to know
So these last 3 all tie together so stick with me...these are not getting any easier, but this one is important because everyone regardless of gender sucks at keeping secrets. Look at it this way at some time everyone will have a failure to keep a secret. Sometimes it is intentional sometimes it just slips, but eventually everyone says something they shouldn't have. The MTBF (meant time between failures) will determine greatly how safe your secret is, but consider this. When that failure does occur now what ever group was around knows as well, so now instead of 1 close confidant, you have 5 (non-gender specific) gossips who also know. It should be a matter of seconds before whoever REALLY should not know finds out.
Screwed = (Pn * Gn * Gj)/(MBTF * Dg)
Pn = # People you told
Gn = # People in average group setting
Gj = Juiciness of gossip
MBTF = Average Mean Time Between Failures of the Pn
Dg = Graph distance from the Pn to the person who is going to screw you.
So as you can plainly see it is only a matter of time before you end up getting screwed, but to minimize your probability only tell your unpopular, trustworthy friends.
Unfortunately, YOU are included in the people who know, and are you really willing to trust yourself with that secret. It helps if you are forgetful, but whether it is only a matter of an hour until your life altering secret gets out, or it is 2 years till something that doesn't really matter anymore gets out, sooner or later all your friends will find out that you had peed your pants when you were 14. Crap I guess I should not have trusted myself with that one.
00000011. Don't Talk about other People
Yeah we all do it, but we really shouldn't. I don't think that statement will really come as a shocker to anyone. It is just so tempting to discuss the problems of our friends basic human nature really, and unfortunately that is the reason I can't ever tell you anything private (see above). The unfortunate part is that there is a decent chance whatever you said about the person will get back to them (they may or may not care). The problem is that by discussing and disseminating information about the woes of others it makes us feel relatively better about our own problems.
Einsteins theory of special relativity states that "The happiness of your own life is only as great as the crapyness of the lives of your friends (when viewed from a neutral plane)". That means that you could be having the worst day of your life, but it would not really matter as long as someone you knew was having a worse day. Conversely, any happiness you feel will only be muted by the happiness of your friends (see also Schadenfreude).
Jane "I don't feel good today, but @ least I don't have a huge zit like Mary"
Mary "I have this huge zit but @ least I am not grounded like Sara"
Sara "I am grounded, but @ least I am not mired in an abusive relationship with a man that I never really loved like Anna"
Anna "I may have problems but @ least I am not starving in Africa"
Africans "We may be starving, but at least we are not Gary Coleman"
So we all know that we should stop gossiping, but what can we do. I could just let it go and be mired in my own self pity for the rest of my life, but that does not seem very fun... does it. What advice can you offer oh wise 32 year old?
00000100. Accept everyone for who they are.
Wait wait, sit back down. Lets make an important distinctions. I did not say love everyone for who they are, or even like everyone for who they are. You are still allowed to dislike whoever you want. There is no universal personality who everyone will like, and you cannot really expect there to be. So that guy in the desk next to you who talks excessively, you do not have to be friends w/ him, in fact you don't even have to talk to him. All you have to do is acknowledge that, is who he is. It should be much easier to accept our friends since we already know most of their faults and can acknowledge them and either move on or find new friends. The point here is they are not going to change. Your friends, your enemies, your significant other, they are who they are and that is how they will stay.
But wait it gets better/harder. Note that accepting everyone includes yourself, and again I am not saying that you have to like your self, though hopefully you will, but you should get to know yourself (γνωθι σεαυτόν), and then accept yourself for who you are. Hopefully after spending some time with yourself you have come to like your self as well. Now you can be happy in who you are and do not have to depend on the misery of others. Although it is always there to fall back on.
An unfortunate side effect of this secret free, gosip free society I have single handedly created is that now conversation is somewhat lacking. Seriously what are we supposed to talk about. Well that is where being nerdy comes in incredibly handy. You have never met a nerd who didn't have some nerdy thing to talk about, how diesel engines work, the physics of earthquakes, insights about fuel economy. It is just like watching the history channel except in conversation form...
Oh, you are not intrested in dorky conversation...
Ok, sorry to bother you strangers in the middle of your lunch...
Please go back to your juicy gossip.
00000101. BONUS: John's Secret to making delicious sandwiches
Condiments, Condiments, Condiments.
Some people think the best part of the sandwich is the meat/soy, or the bread. Those people are wrong. All the possibilities, and potential lie in the thin layer just between the meat and bread. All the flavor, texture, aroma, all won or lost after the burger is grilled, or the chicken is Forman'ed
So what is the secret to condiment application? Simple, variety and quantity. Use as many different condiments as you can and don't start skimping. Use both sides of the bun there should be plenty of room. Spicy Mustard, mayo, relish, tarter, spice weasel, even ketchup, these are the flavor team, just a dab will give your sandwich some kick, so go ahead and use 2 dabs. Lettuce, onion, tomato, pickle, this is the texture team, they take what would normaly be a soft homogneous meal and give it crunch, jucieness, and bite. The tosted bun also plays for the texture team as well as an occasional Bo Jackson'esque appearence from potato chips.
Well there you have it, all that I have learned from 32 years of mistakes and foot biting. It has
had a few highlights and a lot of embaresing moments... and a lot of sandwiches. Perhaps there will be an update when I hit 2^6, until then you've just got more rants about zombies and 15 year old movies on this blog...