“Hey you, how’s the day!” she said, running up to me as we crossed paths on the street.
All of this back in college, her name was Marie. Marie had those beautiful brown curly hair, a nice tan, wore glasses, had a cute body, and a cute face. We met in a writing class, it was an elective, and she even came up to me and hugged me. Yeah, the awkward 19-year old me who though wearing his hair in bangs was hot.
“Uh yeah, sure, great Marie!” I replied.
I was caught off guard but the truth is, my mind was elsewhere. I was thinking about Rachel, she was on my mind. Rachel was this tall slim blonde sorority girl who I was partnered with on a project, she was very cold towards me. Even when she would run into me in public, she’d ignore me. Yet, in my head, I was thinking of Rachel and not Marie. Even when the bubbly Marie approached me, my mind was elsewhere, with Rachel.
What was Rachel doing?
What kind of guys did she like?
What was her weekend like?
What should I say to her?
I won’t bore you with the cheesy romantic film plot but I went nowhere, with either. Marie kind of moved on and found a guy and Rachel, well she moved to the other side of the country to pursue an acting career. As for me, yeah life is decent now but I still kick myself over what I did that year only to find that as men, actually even as people, we do this more than we’d care to admit.
The word relationship, I use it loosely on this post. I am not talking commitment or even romance, I am talking about relationships of every kind whether in business or friendships.
Why are we so committed to people who either don’t want anything to do with us or are making us fight tooth and nail for their respect?
Just back then, I could have ignored Rachel entirely and seen the situation for what it really was. Rachel was a rich sorority girl who was either eyeing an athlete or a rich fraternity guy, I was not her type. Marie was a very cute girl and looking back at it now, had an amazing body and cute face. I could have said fuck it to Rachel and focused solely on Marie but I chased a ghost.
Why is it that whenever someone treats us so poorly, takes us for granted, disregards us, is annoyed by us, plays nasty mind games to get us hooked, and is willing to even hurt us in different ways; we want their attention? Why is it that when someone constantly asks us to prove ourselves to them and puts us through hoops and hurdles in order for them to even associate with us, we so desperately try to prove ourselves?
I have no doubt that there is some deep psychology behind all of this with countless research studies to back it up, after all, they say “we want what we can’t have“. Sure, I kind of read about the why and came to the conclusion that this is all how we naturally act as people. When something is more rare and not easily obtained, we get more respect for it.
At some point, I realized that was not going to be me anymore.
Yes, it was tough to do and I underestimated how overtime, I regressed. In business and work, it was always on my mind how a certain boss wanted me to prove myself more and how a certain coworker judged me and wanted me to act a certain way instead. I forgot about the leaders who believed in me and the coworkers who genuinely wanted me to succeed because it suited their need.
Even when I had a “type”, I ran into this phenomenon a lot. When I could not get blondes and had the worst experiences with them in that period of my life, I could help but think how great it would be to end up with that hot blonde of my dreams. Then I started matching with blondes left to right, and I started to love hot girls that were more “Latin” or “Exotic” looking, needless to say I had the worst experiences with them in that time and wanted them even more as a result.
Easier said than done. Time and time again, life would throw the same scenario at me in business, friendships, and dating. I would have people who would be willing to give an arm and leg to help me, they were usually ignored as bad as I feel now. Then I had people who would try to make me earn even a smile and hello from them, they managed to get me to invest more time in them.
I still wanted that validation, especially from alumni of my college when I was out in my early twenties, that is when it was the worst.
I remember those days of wanting to affiliate with the in-crowd from my school days so bad. Even though I was not in it in my college days, after college I wanted to rub shoulders with the rich fraternity guys and everyone who was popular. I kind of wondered what that crowd was up to and any crowd like it really.
Maybe I’d fit in and be friends with that guy who was “the man” in college and he’d introduce me to some hot sorority girl who graduated, right? Yeah, that is how pathetic I was in so many ways. I knew it was not going to be it but I wanted to be a part of that “in crowd” and feel like I had status. A lot of these people I met at bars and at networking events were actually some nasty people who loved bullying others. At times, I even made myself out to be a fool by trying to affiliate with them only to be played for a sucker. Yet, a part of me wanted that validation and status boost of being a part of that crowd.
Meanwhile, I had ignored the many good people life put in my way. I ignored people my age who were successful, cool, and well-meaning. I was so hellbent on being a part of an exclusive group that I had been shut out of due to my circumstances.
At some point though, things kind of started to change.
I attribute it to me getting the hell out of Atlanta for beginners, the whole city’s social scene is a giant country club anyways. I moved to NYC and we have the same thing here with exclusive clubs but you lived in a city of possibilities no matter what you wanted to do. Slowly, that need to be a part of the in crowd wore off but it was a slow process, life threw many shit-tests my way.
A part of me even wondered what bars and clubs the in-crowd from back home was going to. I wondered what they were up to and where they were hanging out at. I even went to an alumni event for school only to find that it was so lame and dry. I was like this for life in general, I wanted to be a part of that high status crowd around my age in so many ways whether it was a successful company to work at or a group to be accepted by.
Enough was enough, I was not going to fall victim to human nature here.
Then at one point life threw a situation at me and it culminated in a weird way, as you know in my story here on a project at work I was involved with. Even though trying to live by this principle in that situation meant that the odds for success, and a lot of money, would be stacked against me; I decided to do it anyways. I was sick and tired of being taken for granted and I would stand for it no more. Not long after, things worked out as I wanted them to.
I slowly started to pour this mentality into all areas of my life whether they were dating, friendships, or work. Even then, it was not easy and I occasionally caught myself chasing that allure and that validation of being acknowledged by some prestigious crowd or group. I had come a long way though and after enough time, it stopped mattering.
At some point, I found the old alumni and post-college frat crowd cringe. I owe this to the fact that you can go to a bar in NYC and the hottest girl likely won’t be a post-college sorority princess or even American at times. In my mind, I knew I could approach the hottest girls at the bar and take them home.
When it came to women who didn’t want me, I stopped focusing on them in general. I stopped wanting women I struggled with because dating and meeting women was not a game, it was a natural part of life for me. I accepted that I had my market and it was loaded with opportunities, I appreciated it too.
How did I do it?
The transition was tough to make, even today I catch myself regressing, and it is still tough to do for just about anyone out there. I owe my loss of interest in the “in crowd” to the fact that in NYC, no crowd really has a monopoly on the social scene.
Most of all, I practiced gratitude and that did wonders. I loved people who showed me respect and got curious about them. From them, I earned good experiences and it had a great impact on my vibe. We’d go out to bars and clubs to have a good time and that was it, we brought the fun and I had no need to be accepted by anyone.
For women and my personal relationships, my work project situation did wonders and I caught myself soon enough. I realized the trap I put myself in and pulled myself out just in time to make a difference.
At some point, I saw my life as almost the Electoral College. I realized that whether it is with women, work, or friendships; you will always have people that just do not want you no matter what. The last thing you want to do is be a Republican trying to win the state of Minnesota in the Presidential Election.
I did not have to be liked by everyone and that was fine by me, it was okay by me. I had my people I was going to go out and give my best to because they gave me their best.
Then there was an unintended reward.
I noticed, especially with going out, that by just accepting myself and taking pride in what I could offer; there were unexpected rewards. I made friends with the same people I wanted to be friends with years ago. At one point, some rich frat guy from a Big 10 school wanted me to come to his alumni party with him, I had to decline. We became friends because I talked to a couple of girls after making small talk with him at a bar and he wanted to join me since then.
The same “in crowd” that I wanted to be a part of now came calling and wanted me involved. I’d run into old alumni who years ago would have been indifferent to me going to the same school but now were excited and wanted to try and know me better. Something about me having a couple of hot girls with me and the room paying attention may have had a role. Maybe the guy they were trying to please trying to be buddy buddy with me had a say.
Yet, I didn’t want it anymore. It’s odd that sometimes when you least want something in life, it comes knocking on your doorstep.