Modifying Unhealthy Social Habits

Last night, after an intimate talk with my boyfriend that we typically have when we finally get some time alone away from my younger siblings, (don’t worry mom and dad and family, we weren’t doing anything we weren’t supposed to be doing LOL) we both began to reflect about ways we have attempted to change ourselves for the better. The conversation has inspired me to write this blog post in hopes that maybe someone is looking for ideas to change their “bad habits” for the better.

I wouldn’t necessarily call these my new years resolutions being that A.) It is literally 3 months into 2018, B.) I’ve been trying to practice these for the last couple of years/months, and C.) Personally, new years resolutions just don’t work for me.

Below are some of the bad habits I’ve noticed of myself and ways I have tried to make it different.

Gossiping

Be it good gossip or bad gossip, you’re honestly lying to yourself if you say you don’t gossip. Everyone has done it, but no one admits to it. So I will be the odd one out and admit that I love the drama and the gossip and I’m all ears if you’re ready to SPILL THE TEA.

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So for the last couple of years, I’ve tried my best to refrain or at least limit my gossiping habits. My decisions were more of a personal decision to be a better person overall. Whenever I gossip, it feels like I am releasing demons that have been eating away at my soul. But, it becomes worse when I hear or know about stuff that is none of my business because it’s almost like feeding the little demon inside of me that needs the dirt to survive.

To refrain from gossiping, I sometimes try to look at myself from an outsider’s perspective, (and this applies to a lot of the other habits I’ve been practicing as well), and the gossiping honestly just makes me look really shitty as a person. I don’t ever want to be seen or described as a shallow person; I want to have better qualities as a human being. When the opportunity of gossip comes up and I know it’s not in my right, I do my best to change the topic and steer the conversation into a different direction. Occasionally I need to have the sit down with my best friend G.S. or my boyfriend, or honestly even my mom to just give them the scoop on what I’ve heard or seen whether it be on social media or word of mouth. Hey, Rome wasn’t built in a day, so my gossiping habit won’t suddenly disappear. But believe me, I really am trying.

Casual Conversations

Hands down, I SUCK at holding or having just casual conversations with friends, coworkers, acquaintances or even strangers. Having social conversations really just gives me bad anxiety and I want to roll myself up like a pill bug until whoever is trying to conversate with me disappears. I really do agree that a huge percentage of people around my age are guilty of this too.

Let me give you a scenario so you maybe understand what I’m talking about:

Person: Hey! The weather was great last weekend.

Me: Yeah. It was.

Person: Did you do anything fun?

Me: Uh, no, not really.

Do you kinda see what I am trying to point out? I didn’t realize how bad this was until literally no one (at this one job I had for like a month before I quit) would talk to me. I then openly asked one of the M.O.D. what she ultimately thought of me and if I was a hard person to talk to. She said no, and that after I get to talking I’m actually really easy to talk to, but now that I think about it not a lot of people are willing to give their honest opinion. LOL. I did work up the courage to ask other people the same question all of whom had similar responses.

Knowing this about myself, I decided that I would not leave a conversation with close-ended responses and instead leave it open for more. Now, when someone typically asks me how my weekend went, or a casual “how are you today?” I always try to respond and and ask how theirs was or is as well. I get my greatest thrill when I am out shopping or dining and the cashier/waiter/ess begins by asking me how my day is going. They’re almost always going to ask you the question, but they rarely ever get asked so it’s a surprise to them that someone is actually willing to hear how they are doing or how their day is going. Except for that one time I asked my waitress at Red Lobster and she ignored me then proceeded with her mediocre customer service script.

Another tip I try is talking a little too much when asked a question or after a remark is made. An example of this was the one time I went in to Bath and Body Works and bought a little Santa hat that was made for hand wash and lotions. Ridiculous, I know! I asked the cashier if they were actually selling these hats for inanimate objects, to which she replied yes. She seemed bored with her day already so I went ahead and told her, “This hat is actually for my little kitten at home. It’s the PERFECT size for her! I wanted to take some Christmas pictures with her and the tree at home.” After she heard this, it made her chuckle a bit and she told me she never would have thought of putting it on a cat and agreed it was much better than worn by hand washes and lotion bottles. Since getting a cat, (including other pets at home) I’ve found that pets are a great conversation starter. I try to talk about my cat every opportunity I get because people can always relate or are willing to share about their own pets.

If you’re ever hesitant to keep a casual conversation going, just remind yourself that they’re probably just as nervous as you are to elaborate more. We are often afraid to tell others too much or too little and are certain that no one really and genuinely cares to know about our well-being. Again, remember that we are all longing for someone to talk to and share details with so do it every chance you get. (Unless it is gossiping!!!)

Referencing…. things, stuff, etc.

LOL, I had trouble naming the title…. but ultimately, I am trying to not refer to things as … things, if it has a name. This is a really bad habit I have, especially when I am talking with others about different objects. I didn’t realize this was a bad thing (see, there I go again) until at work when I had to describe different supplies or tools, etc. to others. It’s actually really embarrassing to me. This habit is pretty similar to the over usage of saying like and um. (Which I am also guilty of.)

When I refer to objects or materials that have a name as things/stuff or elaborate onward about said object/material with etc. It often makes me feel childish and not so helpful, which are qualities in myself I try not to aim for. LOL, and this is just a funny thought, but for every time I use etc.

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I am reminded of James McAvoy’s Hedwig character from M. Night Shamalakaka, (jk, I know it’s M. Night Shyamalan). In this child-like personality of his split personas, he often adds the word etcetera to the end of his sentences, perhaps to sound more adult-like.

So like other previous tips mentioned, I just remind myself, if there is a name for that thing, then don’t you dare call it a thing. It’s almost as if I have a little social coach floating above my shoulder telling me of all the things I told myself I wouldn’t do.

Cellphone Usage

I’ve been trying this a lot more often as my generation is notorious for being overly indulged in our cellphones (or more like selfphones [insert fake hahas]). And you! If you’re reading this while someone is trying to talk to you, pay attention to them, but also please don’t stop reading this blog post.

Basically, when I am on my phone and someone begins to talk to me, I subconciously turn my phone over so I can’t see the screen and give whoever is talking to me my full attention with direct eye contact. I like to call this attentive and active listening. This all began several years ago when my boyfriend pointed out that whenever we were together I was too involved on my phone. The practice of putting my phone aside all started because of him. The tables have definitely turned because now it’s me asking him to put his phone away and give me all the attention I need.

Personally, I like to be listened to, and I’m sure others like to be listened to as well. If you know you’re prone to being too into your phone, just tuck it away into a pocket or bag. This is especially hard for me because I’m almost never seen without it. However, you will eventually learn, sometimes life is more enjoyable without your phone or tech gadgets. (Fun, but gross TMI fact, I’ve had better, shorter, and more focused bathroom breaks without my phone tagging along!) Again, you can have more interactive habits with others around you when you are actively listening to them and not easily distracted by your phone.

Posture and Attitude

Maintaining good posture and a more positive attitude has been something I’ve been actively trying for the last couple of months. I got this tip from my therapist because I personally felt like I was the sort of person people didn’t want to talk to because of my resting bitch face… which I really hate referring to as. My face has always looked very mean mugging-like and I can’t change it for the life of me! Almost all of my baby pictures are of me appearing grumpy. Well anyway, I’ve always been told that people are at first scared to approach me because of how I look, so when I told my therapist this, she gave me the inspiration to try to change my posture (especially in how I sit) and again change the “closed-up” attitude by being more aware of my surroundings and those around me.

I started this by first changing how I sit. I typically opt in for a more comfy appeal where I am slumped in the chair. I can almost barely cross my legs because my thighs are just too big. I made it a goal to learn to cross my legs because I’ve always envied those who can and I want to prove that women with big thighs CAN cross their legs! I typically try to cross my legs when I sit in long lectures at a time. This causes me to sit up in a better position rather than slumped like I usually am. If my legs get too strained, then opting for the slumping is also okay with me too because comfort is always best.

The change of attitude happens by, again, being more aware of my surroundings by, as previously mentioned, putting my phone away. I’ve noticed that when my phone is away or I am not using it, others are more prone to strike up conversations. This has especially helped me with my confidence in interacting with strangers or just people in lecture.


Hope you enjoyed this read and perhaps are inspired to change some other bad habits of your own! Thank you for reading! Don’t forget to follow for more content.

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3 thoughts on “Modifying Unhealthy Social Habits

  1. I tend to stay away from habitual gossipers as I know certain people who do this constantly. I have no problems telling someone, “ hey, we probably shouldn’t talk about this..” it’s not cool to gossip and talk behind people’s back. People have done it to me and I have done it to others but the older I get the more I stay away from people who do. Great read! I discuss things like this on our blog as well!

    Like

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