If there is a problem, just talk about it. And talk about it sooner than later.

Sometimes I am known to give really good advice. Sometimes I am known to give really bad advice. Sometimes I am known to give really good advice but not actually live up to it personally. Today’s post is about the latter.

Essentially the lesson of this post is simple. If there is a problem in your life, whether it be with a girlfriend, boyfriend, husband, wife, best friend, co-worker, etc. you need to deal with it quickly. Avoiding discussion of the problem often will lead to it getting worse such that it will eventually boil over and explode and then may unfortunately be irreparable.

Many times in my life I have avoided conflict or awkward talks/situations even when I knew something needed to be said in the hopes that the problems would magically fix themselves. This never happened and in most cases the problems became worse. Many times they became worse because of my own doing. I am going to go through some examples.

During my time in high school, there were many situations where this happened to me, but I feel the most important one was my high school sweetheart. I had been into her for a very long time and when we started dating I was crazy about her. Now, mind you she was awesome, but she was a human too, and thus not perfect. Whenever she did things that were not okay I just let them slip and I did not confront her about them. I did not do this because I thought that maybe it would cause a fight and then our relationship would end.

This was very stupid because eventually I got so sick of her crap that I ended up being a total asshole to her and then she broke up with me. In a way I got what I deserved for my childishness and in hindsight I cannot blame her for her mistakes because I never even gave her a chance.

Often times when people are being rude/jerks/whatever they do not know it. If you never tell anyone how you feel, how are they supposed to know you feel that way? People are not psychic. The worst part about Sweetheart and I was that instead of talking about the issues I just started being a dick. The absolute worst way to respond. Who knows what could have been had I just talked about it. Now, I do not reminisce and pine for her, that was a long time ago and it was a high school relationship. Instead I wish her the best and I remember our moments so that I can be a better man now.

The next time this lesson struck was in college. This time I was not the principal one at fault, though I should have noticed that this was happening. Here we go AiJwei. I hope you are reading this.

My freshman year of college I dated this girl from Canada, we shall call her Canada for the rest of the story. Canada was cute but in the end her and I did not get along and neither did either of us really like each other. But this did not mean we did not end things quickly. We used each other for as long as the relationship could run its course and I can conclude that it was a very crappy relationship. Without a doubt the worst one of my life and I am not proud of it. Note, it was not as intense as most of you reading this may think, but I do not share relationship details so you guys are stuck imagining it in your heads. #drowning

Finally Canada broke up with me, and while I did not want it to end, I kind of did. You might think that it was all over, but no it was just beginning. My friend Arizona had the hots for Canada, and she also had the hots for him. And being honest, these two had way more in common than ever could have been possible between me and her. At first I was feeling upset because while they had not started dating yet, I could see it coming a mile away. But I then called this Priest whose advice I really respected, and I talked to him about the situation. He told me that he understood how I felt but that if these two really liked each other and that if her and I had a crappy relationship it would be selfish for me to not just let them date. He was right and it made sense to me. I concluded that I did not care if they dated.

Fast forward to the next day and me and my buddy Florida are hanging out. We are trying to call Arizona to see if he wants to go skateboarding with us since that was what we did back then. Arizona is not picking up the phone and we just assume that is because he forgot it in his room or there is no service, or for any other reason. We then remember that Arizona was spraying a graffiti mural underneath this bridge near our school and that he told us he was going to do it over the weekend. Florida and I roll over and who do we see under the bridge?

Arizona and Canada. On a date.

Here we go AiJwei. Now, remember I do not care that they are dating, but this does not mean that it still is not awkward. Arizona, Canada, Florida, and I all chill for a little bit but then Florida and I go off around for a bit to give them time alone. After some time hiking we come back to the bridge say goodbye Arizona and Canada, and then hang out for the rest of the day with our other buddy Massachusetts.

You might think that everything ended well here, but no it did not. Arizona and Canada thought that Florida and I had come down to the bridge to spy on them because I was angry that they might start dating. They believed that I was going to sabotage their relationship. These ideas were completely bullshit and untrue. Note Arizona also happened to forget that he told Florida, myself, and everyone earlier this week that he would be under the bridge doing his mural. It was not a secret, but he seemed to think it was.

Now I never knew that Arizona thought these things until almost 1 year and a half later. The only thing I knew was that after that day, Arizona was a complete asshole to me, totally hated me, and caused our friend group to entirely collapse. I ended up not talking with him and not liking him either obviously.

Now about a year and a half passes, many nights filled with drama are scattered through this period as everyone knows Arizona and I do not get along and things are awkward for many people involved at parties, gatherings, etc. Eventually, and I forget exactly how this happened but, Arizona comes to my room asking to borrow something. I help him out with it no problem. We have never said it but we both are unhappy with how everything turned out between us because we really were good friends. Something happens and somehow we get to talking about what went down and then everything comes to light that all this drama was started from false assumptions that I hated their relationship and was spying on them, etc. There was a very sobering moment for my friend Arizona who realized how silly everything was and how we lost a year and a half of friendship. when we were in college I might add, over something we just talked out in under 5 minutes. I too realized how that while in this case it was not my fault making the assumptions, I could have tried talking to my friend and maybe we could have ended the drama earlier by asking what the hell was going on. After that moment we had summer break, and when we got back to school for our Junior year Arizona and I were great friends again and still are to this day and hopefully will be for the rest of our lives.

Silly things can cause terrible problems, but it does not mean that they are unfixable. Arizona and I fixed that. He also broke up with Canada. Very nice Arizona.

Now you would think that I would have learned the lesson at this point due to my many experiences arising from my failure to synthesize it, but still I often fall short. I even did so yesterday by being way too much of an asshole to a friend of mine. Note there is a fine line between telling a joke and turning the knife. Shout out to Kacey Musgraves.

I have already written much so I am going to TLDR this one. Basically my friend had been annoying me and instead of talking to him about it and giving him a chance, I reverted to my old self with Sweetheart. Instead of talking about the problem, I just let it boil over and then I was an asshole to him. Luckily for me, he came to me and talked about it. And I really applaud him for that. Who knows what would have happened if he did not come talk to me. Could that have been the beginning of us not being friends? Could it have been an Arizona situation all over again? Thankfully it will not be because he gave me a chance and came and spoke to me. I apologized and all that needed to be said was said.

The lesson of the story is really simple, yet many people, myself included, can fail to learn simple lessons. This one is important though so we will end the post with the lesson.

If there is a problem, just talk about it. And talk about it sooner than later. Give people a chance before you demonize them and make the problem much larger than it needs to be/actually is. People are imperfect and everyone will make mistakes. This does not mean that you just let mistakes happen and not care about them. To the contrary, when mistakes happen, confront them, but in a way such that they can be made fixed. Again, give people a chance. They will respect you and thank you for it.

-Nolan

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