I’m pretty sure this is how people end up with no friends (& Hood Good #4)

asshole

I haven’t confirmed it with a medical professional, but there is a high likelihood that some sort of synapses misfiring happens between my brain and my mouth every time I talk. Actually, if I marinate on it a little more, it also happens when I don’t talk. I think a lot of fucked up things. Also, I’m not good at remembering when to use a semicolon. Harv says that last sentence doesn’t really “go” with the rest of the paragraph, but I told him that I didn’t really care, and then he walked out of the room like he was really frustrated. I don’t know. Maybe he just got thirsty. I respect a person who honors the body’s call to stay hydrated. Please drink some water, y’all.

Of all of the awkward mumbles that come out of my mouth, the worst offenses happen right after someone pays me a genuine compliment or says something else equally as nice. I know a lot of people walk around saying bullshit they don’t really mean. I don’t blame them. It’s so much easier to say, “What luck! I’m so happy I bumped into you. Your teal-colored ensemble really highlights your eyes!” Who wants to cause problems by groaning and shouting, “Get the fuck away from me, you bitch! I know it was you who signed me up to make blondies for that stupid 4th of July BBQ!”

I’m well-versed in responding to bullshit with bullshit. There are NO synapses misfirings there. But the genuine goodness, the words that immediately fill empty crevices and boost me from the trenches because they are so kind and thoughtful and encouraging…those are the words that make me freeze.

Kind words terrify me.

I have never been able to accept a compliment gracefully. I’ve tried to peel apart the chain of events right after someone goes out of their way to tell me that they liked the way my hair looked or how much they enjoyed a piece I wrote or how they appreciated me for picking up the dog shit on the sidewalk for the third time that week even though I don’t own a dog and that lazy neighbor better come correct.

I nod and say nothing (sometimes my mouth is hanging open too). I chuckle and point to the shit-filled grocery bag. I make a swatting motion like I’m trying to kill a gnat. I stare at my feet. I deflect. I blush.

Once last fall, after reading a personal essay in a show, a woman chased me across the street afterwards to tell me how much the story had moved her. She thanked me for being brave and for sharing. What did I do? I looked behind my shoulders to make sure she wasn’t talking to anyone else. Then, I avoided her gaze and mumbled a soft thank you. Uh, and then I ran away.

In my mind, I have replayed that moment a dozen times. If I had the luxury of a rewind button, I would look her in the eyes and speak loudly and clearly as I thanked her for being kind and for going out of her way to give me a boost that will surely stay with me for a long time.

I have watched my friends accept compliments with grace and ease. When thoughtfulness is received in the same spirit it is given, both parties experience joy.

And to you: Thank you for being patient with me. I appreciate the goodness you bestow in my life. 

____

Hood Good #4: (T)HUG THOUGHTS MAGNETS

thugmagnets

Production: 50 sets
Cost: $5.00 for 2 magnets and $11.00 for all 5 magnets
NOW SHIPPING TO CANADA

For purchasing info, please visit the Hood Goods Store

P.S. Flourish in Progress Instagram Peoples always get first peek and first dibs on Hood Goods. Follow along on Instagram and on the Flourish in Progress Facebook page for Hood Goods and other random shit. Like the 11 jars of pepper jelly I bought myself for Mother’s Day. BALLER AS FUCK.

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  • Suebob

    Seven words. You can do it. “Thank you! That is so nice of you!”

    • http://flourishinprogress.com/ Elizabeth-FlourishinProgress

      I practiced a few times. I think this is totally doable.

  • chemegirljaime

    I love reading your blog … cuz I always feel a sense of “thank god I’m not the only one” afterwards…. thanks for that!

    • http://flourishinprogress.com/ Elizabeth-FlourishinProgress

      It totally makes me feel less awkward that you feel this way too sometimes.

      So thank YOU.

  • Yoshika Chhabra

    Thank lord! I thought it was just me!

    • http://flourishinprogress.com/ Elizabeth-FlourishinProgress

      Lolol. I thought it was just ME!

  • Trophy Wife

    I just went up to a really buff girl at the gym and was like “Your body is AMAZING!” and she was like – um…yeah…thanks. At first I thought – fuck you bitch, now you’re fat – but now I realize maybe she’s just not good at accepting compliments?

    You schooled me good.

    • http://flourishinprogress.com/ Elizabeth-FlourishinProgress

      I don’t actually go to the gym, although I have given the notion some thought here and there (and isn’t that a work out in and of itself), but it would be totally dreamy if anyone ever paid me this compliment…and then I would feel awkward and shy afterwards.

      I think it’s pretty rad that you said something so nice though. I bet it boosted her workout mojo for dayyyyyys.

  • theblahblahblahger

    A friend sent me a tshirt with the asshole quote. I wonder what that says about me… ;-)

    • http://flourishinprogress.com/ Elizabeth-FlourishinProgress

      It means you have awesome friends who clearly give awesome gifts.

  • Misty

    I just love you. It might be because you ARE such an asshole. You’re my people, ya know?
    Don’t ever change. Do you boo.

    • http://flourishinprogress.com/ Elizabeth-FlourishinProgress

      Assholes unite?

      I love you, boo.

  • Elizabeth Barnes

    at least you’ve taken the first step and acknowledged that it’s a problem. I’m not very good at accepting compliments either. though they give me a boost also.

    • http://flourishinprogress.com/ Elizabeth-FlourishinProgress

      Oh, they give me such a boost even when I run away from them. And then I think about them from time to time when I am feeling low.

  • http://www.myglitteranddoom.blogspot.com/ nova

    Well, like Vonnegut says about semicolons, “All they do is show you’ve been to college.” Just forget ‘em.

    • http://flourishinprogress.com/ Elizabeth-FlourishinProgress

      I did not finish college so I now feel okay about not knowing how to use them.

  • funnyortragic.wordpress.com

    I think this is a classic problem for people who have lived in a less than ideal world–it’s hard to take things at face value. I’ve been slowly trying to say thank you. Of course, I still end up being an asshole, because if there’s even a simple compliment like “I love your glasses” I never ever think to repay them in kind with a return compliment until 3 hours later. Sigh. I’ll save that goal for the next decade.

    • http://flourishinprogress.com/ Elizabeth-FlourishinProgress

      I always wonder about this- is it okay to return a compliment with a compliment. I feel awkward because I don’t want them to think I just said that kind thing out of obligation, but I totally wouldn’t do it unless I meant it.

  • Roller Scrapper

    What is it with people and their clever banter and small talk? I usually manage to blurt out something unintelligible and then stand in awkward silence, e.g.

    (To set the stage I discovered magnum bars were only $1.49 a box)
    Cashier: “You know everyone else is going to be mad you bought all the magnum bars.”
    Me: “There are plenty more left”
    Cashier “No I’m just kidding with you, lots of people have bought a ton of magnum bars today”
    Me: “This is why I have a giant freezer”
    Casher:….silence
    Me: ….awkward silence
    Cashier: (still bleeping the 20 boxes of ice cream I just bought)
    Me: …awkward silence

    I can’t even imagine if someone had complimented me on my ice cream bar buying skills, my brain may have exploded right then and there!

    • http://flourishinprogress.com/ Elizabeth-FlourishinProgress

      Girl, I’m still afloat in jealousy that you got 20 boxes. BALLER STATUS.

      • Roller Scrapper

        I’m making it rain with magnum bars! (see in real life I would have stammered and said um um but I had about 5 minutes to think about what I’d say) :)

  • http://inpursuitofhappiness.net/blog Miss Britt

    I am SO bad about accepting comments as well – and yet I tend to scold people when they deflect compliments in front of me.

    • http://flourishinprogress.com/ Elizabeth-FlourishinProgress

      It’s hard to break a habit…but so easy to notice the same bad habit in others. Something I struggle with as well.

  • http://www.siebee.com/ Corin

    Oh Lord, YES TO THIS. My general reaction to receiving a compliment is nervous laughter, followed by incoherent babbling until we are both totally uncomfortable. It’s pretty awesome.

    • http://flourishinprogress.com/ Elizabeth-FlourishinProgress

      I think we should practice complimenting each other. Eventually, we’ll just break each other down and learn how to receive goodness with awkwardness. Or we’ll end up staring at each other in stone-cold silence. I’m hoping for the first.

  • Jock Sturges

    I used to be… Well, ok, I still am a bit flumoxed by compliments. My spell check doesn’t like how I spelled flumoxed but I refuse to be bullied. Anyway, this compliment squirm was made easier for me by a dancer whom I often photographed at San Francisco Ballet by the name of Evelyn Cisneros. Working in the wings I would see how the young dancers watched her every step as she seemed to effortlessly defy gravity and physics as she floated through choreography. She was a magnificent dancer. She’d exit into the wings and the younger dancers would crowd around her and shower her with compliments. Her face would light up and with wonderful warmth she would thank them for making her feel so good. She complimented them for their kindness in complimenting her. And, being young and not yet versed in the are of receiving praise, they would squirm. But not Evelyne.

    Compliments are gifts, plain and simple. All of us love giving someone we like a good and useful gift. We can’t wait to see how pleased they will be. We hope. If you deflect a compliment you are spurning a gift. Not to do.

    • http://flourishinprogress.com/ Elizabeth-FlourishinProgress

      I am both amazed and fascinated by Good Gift Givers. I can’t count myself in this lucky lot, but the GGGs always seems to know exactly what you need and want, whether it is a kind word or that complete collection of rap trading cards you’ve been pining over.

      Doing my best not to spurn those amazing gifts. Or spurn them less….just keeping it real.