social life

Life Lessons from Laguna Beach

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It started when I was about 16, watching Laguna Beach and noticing how Kristin Cavallari seemed to be about 20 years older than everyone else. Sure, everyone pretty much hated her. But I think it was because she was on to something – and no one knew what it was.

While on one of our frequent phone dates, my sister (who was in college at the time), cracked the code for me. Kristin didn’t care what everyone else thought – at least not nearly as much as a 17 year old typically does.

Here’s what she does that we found so revolutionary:

  • She leaves the room/party/conversation when she’s not having a good time anymore
  • She is honest about what she wants and doesn’t want and doesn’t apologize for it
  • She is confident – in how she looks (cuz duh, but still), and that she will still find friends, or another boyfriend, or someone who will want to spend time with her if everyone else hates her
  • She takes as fact that her idea of a good time and opinions of other people are totally valid

…and everyone hates her. She’s the mean girl. She’s the bitch. She’s self involved and selfish. And okay, she is a popular white blonde 17 year old who is rich AF so I get it. You can hate her. But she doesn’t care. And that’s kind of – why you hate her.

Why doesn’t she care? Why isn’t she freaking out about what everyone is going to think if she leaves this party early because it’s lame and people are being idiots and she would rather be home alone watching TV? How can she just leave and not feel bad?

What we’re all thinking is – I would never be able to leave and not stress over it.

Maybe you never watched Laguna Beach circa 2005 (I’m sorry that happened to you) and maybe you leave parties and don’t give a shit and that’s awesome. But the majority of the people I know didn’t know what this sorcery was, especially at 16 – and some still don’t leave parties even if they are basically in hell at age 30 because they don’t want to risk making a couple of acquaintances feel bad.

And let me get something out of the way real quick before we move on – Kristin Cavallari was acting like a bunch of dudes act all the time. Everyone had a passionate hatred for her on that show because she’s a woman who doesn’t care what you think. That just goes against everything everyone has ever been taught in our society from day 1. If you’re a woman, you DEFINITELY care what everyone thinks, to the point of literally harming yourself in all sorts of ways. Men experience societal pressure too – but I would argue that women are particularly hated when they decide to say fuck off to their set of guidelines. I just read Shrill by Lindy West and in that book you will find a ton of evidence to this point – being a woman who is loud, contrary, and I unapologetic will result in mankind’s worst behavior coming at you from the underbelly of everything shitty. (I recommend the book, by the way – it wasn’t as funny as I thought it would be, but she is a feminist bad ass and makes you think of things you may not have before).

The point is – Kristin and Lindy are hated. But they are also revolutionary and we want what they have. Or at least a lot of people I know do, and I do, too. I want a life completely based on my terms – doing what I want to do and surrounding myself with people I enjoy.

So my goal is to continually move toward this. I have been moving toward it since I watched Laguna Beach. Some switch flipped when I figured out that I wanted what Kristin had. I dumped a group of friends (in the only way my teenage self knew how – I would probably do things differently now – but then again, high school is SO WEIRD so who knows if I could have actually done that in a better way). I was tired of feeling like a doormat and basically telling people in a variety of ways to treat me like one. So I cut out things in my life that made me feel shitty, at the expense of things I was supposed to care about above all else – like looking cool with a group at lunch (I’d rather go home and eat with my mom), or not attracting too much attention at the risk of it being negative (I started dressing the way I wanted to instead of how I thought I should).

I stopped putting other people’s feelings about what I did above my own feelings about what I did. I mattered more.

How I feel everyday matters more than how other people feel about me everyday. If something makes me happy and that causes someone to think of me in a bad light, that sucks I guess but it’s more important that I feel happy.

I’m mostly talking about acquaintances and social circles here, so of course take it with that in mind – sitting for 2 hours talking to my boyfriend about my feelings and being super vulnerable is not my idea of fun, but I am prioritizing myself in that moment, and of course him as well. So you get what I’m sayin.

This new book I’m reading (I Need Your Love – Is That True? – terrible title) basically asks you to imagine what your life would be like if you stopped caring so much about what people thought about you. What if you only got dressed for yourself? What if you looked at your social calendar and schedule for the week and only saw things you wanted to do? (We talked about this idea a while back, actually.)

I’m trying to slide into my 30s with this mentality as a goal – life is too short to care about what peripheral people think. If I spent the time I took worrying about acquaintances and how they viewed me and applied it to my important relationships, how might my life improve?  I want to hit 30 with some experience with this under my belt so I can hit that decade running. I want to be a Kristin – who, by the way, was always very sweet to her close friends, from what I can remember (it’s been a while). I want to have FUN and give my time and effort to the people that really count – not this weird studio audience category of people that so many take so much time trying to impress.

We need to ask ourselves – how important is this person? Then give them a proportional amount of time, brain space, and effort.

 

What do you think? To be honest, I haven’t watched Laguna Beach in a loooong time so let me know if I have selective memory and if any of ya’ll remember it differently! And I found this fun piece if you want to take a stroll down memory lane…

Do you have any goals to give less f@#ks lately? :)

 

 

 

Wait, why again?

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Mélange à trois is a series where we discuss life’s burning questions about life, love, and style. Have a question you just can’t find the answer to? Email me at missmelangeblog@gmail.com and we’ll talk about it!

 

I have this group of girlfriends that I see pretty often. I’ve known them for forever, and they are fun to hang out with – but lately I feel like we don’t have much in common, and even though I have fun, I leave feeling weird. I find myself giving more than I’m getting – initiating things with them, asking them how they are and not talking about myself at all… And I’m starting to wonder why I put in the effort. But I’ve known these girls for forever, and I would feel bad about turning down invites (even though they don’t come to my get togethers)… What can I do to not rock the boat, but to stop feeling bleh about the whole thing?

 

Okay. Let’s break this down:

  • These friends don’t have anything in common with you
  • They aren’t giving anything in your friendship
  • You feel shitty after hanging out with them
  • They don’t come to your stuff, but you go to theirs

The only things keeping you from changing it up are:

  • You’ve known them for forever
  • You feel bad turning them down

Let’s start with the two reasons that would prevent you from changing the current state of things.

It doesn’t matter that you have known them for a long time if you aren’t getting anything out of these friendships. It’s not like you’re banning them from your life, and if you end up having things in common later and life and they bring value as friends, then great, you can always pick things back up. But right now, your life is being weighed down by unnecessary shit, and this is something you need to cut out. We’ll get to why later.

But you also feel bad turning them down. Here’s the thing – what would you rather feel: irrational guilt for turning down an invite from them when they turn down yours, or that frustrated feeling you get when you realize you got off your couch and did your hair, all for a couple of hours that you wish you could get back to do something you care about?

Then there’s the bigger picture. It’s not just about your Friday night, or who has accepted the most invitations – it’s about your whole life. Which sounds dramatic, but hear me out.

When you look at your social calendar, how much of it are you genuinely looking forward to? 50%? 80%? I think it should be 100%. Sure, some things you can’t get out of, and some things are investments or necessary evils (for example, maybe your in-laws aren’t at the top of your fun list, but you know it’s important and it’s worth it). But when it comes to your people who you choose to spend your SPARE time with, why the hell is that something you’re dreading? Makes no sense!

This is something I am JUST figuring out, thanks to my wise sister. We have been talking about how important our time is and how it makes us feel. Think about it – you’re looking at your week like, “Okay Monday I have happy hour with this girl from work who I don’t even like that much and it’s going to be awkward, but she asked me so I had to go… then Wednesday I have my friend’s party where no one I know will be there, but I should go because I didn’t go to her last leggings/oils/crystals/makeup party…then Thursday I have dinner with the boyfriend’s family friends who I’ve never met… then Friday and Saturday I said I would leave for the weekend with friends that I have realized lately I don’t click with at all….” SOUNDS LIKE A GREAT WEEK. I’m already exhausted.

But we’ve all been there, right? (If you haven’t, props to you and please comment with tips!) With that kind of pattern, I would start to feel kinda depressed about my life – where is all the fun stuff I want to do??

So we need to start saying no. With no guilt. Even if someone did nothing wrong, but you’re just not into it, say no. Even if you LOVE this person but you don’t love their bowling club, say no. And once your schedule is 90% shit you love, showing up for someone you love to do something you’re not that thrilled about will be a million times easier.

It’s about your life as a whole, and viewing your time as a precious (and scarce) resource. If I say no to this party these girls invited me to, I will have more energy to say yes to other invites that are way more important to me. And I will have more energy to do other things that make me happy, like exercise or cook for myself or read that book. Suddenly, you have time to do the things you WANT to do.

And even if you’re SO BORED, and the only thing to do this Friday night is hang out with those girls, still say no – because you know you won’t have a good time. And with that freed up time and space, you make room for new friends, new hobbies, new habits – and you will only let those in that you think sound fun. It might take some time, but then you’re looking at a bad-ass calendar.

Think of it as a wardrobe capsule for your life. Less=more, quality > quantity.

Sounds pretty dope, no? So start embracing “no”. We’ll do it together.

 

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{How To:} Revamp your social life

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Last week I told you how I revamped my closet. This week, I wanted to tell you about the amazing idea my sister had a few months ago to revamp my social life.

I have been going through a phase where I really want to build my friendships and get more close girlfriends – I am so used to having a big group of awesome girlfriends from being in college and grad school. Once I moved to Santa Barbara and started working, I had just a couple here and there – some are super busy and hard to hang out with regularly, some moved away – but I am lucky to have a handful that I see regularly. I wrote about this on a post a while back – I was feeling a little insecure and stunted in that category and wanted to meet more people.

Then I talked to my sister, who had a great idea. We were talking about how hard it is to get something going with a new friend you like. So you meet a new neighbor – what do you do, invite them over for dinner? Sounds nice – but a little intense and pressure-y, from my introverted perspective. We were talking about it and I said “I wish there was just a casual way to just see people and get to know them better without having to make a big deal about it.”

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Then she was like – wait, duh. I used to do this in college. You just make a day where you all meet at the same place every week for beers – then you can invite whoever you want, and it’s no big deal. They had Woodstocks Wednesdays in downtown San Luis Obispo, and it was an awesome social hub to fall back on every week. Then I remembered – I had one in college, too! It was Family Dinner Night – every Thursday (I think…) at my friends’ house. We would have a potluck and catch up and everyone would bring new people all the time.

So we thought – this does not need to just be a college thing. And Yellow Belly Tuesday was born.

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As it turns out, Anthony and I and our two friends were meeting at Yellow Belly about once a week anyway, just to catch up during the week. It’s perfect, because it’s walking distance from our house and we are regulars already. Yellow Belly opened sometime last winter I think, and everyone loves the great food and beer. We started calling it our dining room, since our place doesn’t really have one, and we eat there so much.

It was the perfect place for our weekly gathering. Our first Yellow Belly Tuesday was on July 7th, and it has been a hit ever since. I feel like I see people regularly that I wouldn’t otherwise, and I have gotten to know some acquaintances a lot better – and now I can call them my friends. I think it was the perfect solution to my new friend slump – if you are having one too, I highly recommend giving your social life a face lift and starting your own.

Set up your own weekly gathering:

Choose a place.

For us, it was a no-brainer. And honestly, we were pretty selfish about it… since we were starting it, we got to choose our favorite place. But if your favorite place is a super romantic Italian tiny restaurant with candles and white tablecloths, it’s not the best choice. Ask yourself a couple of questions when choosing a place:

  • Is it big enough to accommodate the number of people you want to come?
  • Is it casual?
  • Does it have food?
  • Does it have a menu that most people could choose from?
  • Is it out of the way or in the middle of town?

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Choose a day and time.

We wanted it to be during the week, to break things up and to have something to look forward to. You probably won’t want to have it on the weekend, since a lot of people go out of town or will have other stuff planned. This way you can catch up with a mix of people during the week, and have the weekend to hang out with your typical group and relax. We wanted to choose something mid-week and landed on Tuesday to avoid Anthony’s ensemble’s rehearsals that typically happen Wednesdays and Thursdays. Think about who will probably be the regulars and take a poll with your core group to see what day is most convenient for most people.

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Even if Tuesdays aren’t great for some people, we end up staying so long that most people can at least swing by on their way to or from something else if they wanted to. Ours goes from 6:15-9ish usually. It might sound like a big investment and way too long to be at a restaurant – but it actually happens naturally that way. Even before we started YBT, we ended up staying until around nine just with friends. Consider if you could hang out at this place for that long, or if there would be a changing set of people that would be there for an extended period of time – it’s nice to have a big window to see the most people around their schedule.

Invite people!

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We use Facebook to spread the word, every week. It’s nice to remind people (even those that come all the time) and make posts about that week – for example, if it’s someone’s birthday and we’re celebrating, or if we need to let anyone know that we (the core members who started this whole thing) can’t make it.

Facebook doesn’t let you set up recurring events (if I’m wrong let me know!) so we update the date every week until it doesn’t let us anymore, then we create a new one and start over. Facebook works for us because we can make it public and people can invite their friends on their own. If you choose to use Facebook, make sure to add a few people as the admin so they can update the event if you can’t.

Facetune

Engage with your new place.

Tell the waitstaff about your weekly meet up and tag their social media pages when you take photos or check in. It’s always nice to have connections with a local place that you love.

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I know you are already super pumped about this – but just to seal the deal… Here are a few benefits of this kind of set up:

  • Friend dating someone new? This is a super casual way for you to meet and get to know them.
  • Do you have a friend-crush on someone in the office, but don’t know how to be friends with them in real life? Invite them as you’re leaving work so you can integrate them into your friend group.
  • Want to meet more people? Encourage everyone to bring their office friend crush, their boyfriend/girlfriend and their friends, etc – your friend network can potentially grow exponentially.

 

Please tell me if you already have something like this that you do (weekly bookclubs maybe? Too bad I only read in random phases – beer is more of a constant in my life) and what you like or dislike about it. If you end up launching one of your own weekly hangouts, let me know how it goes!

 

Amazing photos taken by my talented sister, Mary, at Two Happy Lambs Photography

 

 

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