Santa Monica Observer - Community, Diversity, Sustainability and other Overused Words

You Can /Can't Sit With Us: Managing And Thriving In Your Social Circle

I vividly remember my own struggles with many of my childhood friends. I was constantly being picked on, especially by girls because I was either too tall or too skinny.

 

September 12, 2016

The topic of managing and thriving in your social circle takes me right back to junior high. Tweens and teens are constantly testing each other through rejection and acceptance, unconsciously laying the groundwork for how they will behave socially as adults.

We're a funny lot aren't we...? People that is. While we are more highly evolved intellectually than animals, we are pretty much the same as these fellow inhabitants of our planet when it comes to who we feel is worth spending time with.

The topic of managing and thriving in your social circle takes me right back to junior high. Tweens and teens are constantly testing each other through rejection and acceptance, unconsciously laying the groundwork for how they will behave socially as adults. I'll never forget the trials and tribulations of navigating through friendships with my peers when I was that age. To say it was awful is an understatement and it pains me to see kids going through this today. Not yet a parent myself, I often imagine how I would handle my child's tender societal growing pains.

I vividly remember my own struggles with many of my childhood friends. I was constantly being picked on, especially by girls because I was either too tall or too skinny. One memory I have is when I was the new kid at a small private elementary school that I entered for the 6th grade, and one of the girls in particular was very mean. She would push me as hard as she could and taunt me whenever and wherever she was able to. The other kids would laugh and start to join in.

I did my best to scream back at them to leave me alone, but my words fell on deaf ears and the situation progressed to such a degree that I no longer wanted to go to school. My father and mother sat me down one night and my dad said that I absolutely had to continue going to school. He proceeded to tell me exactly how to handle these girls. The next day before dismissal, I was to tell the teacher I needed to make an announcement to my class. My announcement was to be a direct speech to these mean classmates, letting them know their behavior needed to stop immediately. I actually did this and it worked like a charm. All the girls immediately came up to me and started inviting me to their parties etc. It's funny to think about this now.

As adults, I like to think we are much better equipped to handle these struggles, especially if we thrived in these personality-building situations in childhood, where a successful outcome very often depended not just upon our own strength of character and will, but how much supportive guidance we received from the adults who raised us.

The phenomenon of "who can/can't sit with us" applies to all ages. My knee jerk reaction is to put down those people who feel they are better than others; too quickly writing people off based on superficial factors. Though I am guilty of this sort of belief too when it comes to social mores. As much as I don't believe I practice such behavior, I am human and unfortunately I haven't yet evolved to my highest level of consciousness. Hopefully I will in this lifetime.

So what does it take to successfully navigate through social relations? First of all, try to "know thyself" as thoroughly as you can, what you can and cannot tolerate; what insults your soul. You will be better equipped to make the right judgment call if you are familiar enough with what you can and cannot tolerate in yourself and others in any given circumstance.

I remember a time in my early twenties when I had to assert myself to a new modeling agent of mine in Paris. For whatever her personal reasons were, she would block me from certain fantastic business opportunities and I decided that I wasn't going to waste my time with an agent who didn't have my back. I confronted her directly about the issues she was creating for me, and I took the matter to her boss who was angry to hear the news since he was unaware of the situation. He immediately assigned another agent to take care of my bookings and events, and the situation was amended.

Secondly, try to not be reactive. So difficult! Especially when someone is treating you unkindly and it could affect others' perceptions of you. We must remember not to take anything personally or make assumptions. Most people's negative behavior toward us is their problem anyway. The trick is to keep that in mind and not put energy into what others think of you. Sticking to a strong sense of ourselves and keeping cool-headed will allow us to successfully navigate through any uncomfortable situation.

The topic of managing and thriving in your social circle takes me right back to junior high. Tweens and teens are constantly testing each other through rejection and acceptance, unconsciously laying the groundwork for how they will behave socially as adults.

For who makes the rules of these social patterns anyway? People that's who. At any given moment the rules can be changed by any given person or group. The way we value ourselves greatly affects our ability to navigate around the social circles in our society and achieve desired outcomes.

If you'd like to continue this conversation on growing one's confidence, self-esteem and so much more order a copy of my book, "Finding The Supermodel In You". There is something for everyone no matter what age or gender, and it makes for a great read with plenty of gorgeous photos to peruse. Purchase links available on my website: claudiamason.com and on amazon.

#claudiamason #FTSIY #FindingTheSupermodelInYou #book #author

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