Right about the time you start paying taxes and working 40 hours a week you realize that growing up sucks. After some years of hating adulthood, you realize there are benefits, like controlling your own life, eating what you want, picking your own bed time, and buying firearms and beer (separately, of course).
Then there is the benefit of being able to deal more maturely with people and leave behind playground conversations about cooties and communicating clearly with others. No longer do you have to check “Yes,” “No,” or “Maybe” when Christine passes you a note asking if you like her. When someone asks what you want for dinner, you can just say pizza rather than “I don’t know” but turning down every other option until pizza comes up. That’s the way adults are supposed to deal with each other.
Annoyingly, some adults cling to the games of children.
How many times have you had a friend say something that seems to inspire conversation, only for them to retreat behind a false veil of mystery? You know, the “You’ll never guess what I saw today” followed by “I can’t tell you.” Are you kidding me? I thought we left kindergarten behind with nap time and juice breaks. Allow me to put down my animal crackers a moment and play the game with you and give you the attention you’re after. What motive is there to even bring something up if you can’t talk about it? There is only one. Attention. The same reason why kids cry and throw tantrums. I for one have stopped the child’s play. If someone mentions to me “I can’t tell you,” it ends there. I don’t ask again. I let it alone. And I think less of them, knowing they’re just pleading for attention because they soiled themselves.
Do you want another example? “Nevermind.” Same game, different sound effect. If something was worth saying in the first place, it’s worth repeating. Don’t get shy or elusive about it. You opened your mouth, now stick with what you said. Enunciate in the first place and you probably won’t have to repeat yourself. Or was it an aborted attempt? “You know what?… No, never mind, I’m not going to say it.” It’s half of a cry for attention (I’ve got something to say!!) and half admission of a character flaw. You either think you’re above the person, not wanting to hurt them with a zinger or some such, or you are strong enough in your convictions to go through with whats on your mind. And again, people start to look down on you for the way you behave.
So now you know when you play games like that, people start looking down at you. But are these games costing you more than just your reputation? They sure as hell are. Men say what they mean and indicate what they want, at least if they want to get it. Need a favor? Ask for it. Don’t follow this line of questioning: “What are you doing tomorrow?” “Is it important?” “Are you going to be busy all day?” Instead of doing that, try this one: “I need to move a sofa this weekend and if you had some time, I’d appreciate your help.” That way, you’re very clear and concise and the friend doesn’t feel as though you’re trying to pull a fast one over them.
Don’t lure someone to your place for a drink only to hit them with “Hey, this is my roommate Brad, do you think you could talk to him about working in the entertainment industry?” That’s a load of bull and you’re being a child. Ask for what you want. Say “Hey, my roommate Brad really wants to know what it’s like in your field. Maybe you could talk to him and then we’ll get a drink after?” In that example, not only are you forthright and honest, but as an adult, you also let him know how he benefits. You acted like a mature person, rather than a child. At least in being honest and not mincing words, your friends won’t feel betrayed or lied to, no matter what you’re asking them to do.
If you find yourself luring friends into favors or aborting sentences and questions, you’re in need of a wake up. While you’re annoying others, you’re hurting yourself and losing your reputation, one childish tick at a time. If you’re going to open your mouth, make a statement, not a mistake. If you want something from someone, tell them straight away. The playground is years behind you and those kinds of games are over. When you’re dealing with adults, act like one and they’ll treat you like an equal. Keep being a child and you’ll find yourself playing four-square while the big cats play ball.