People behave pretty appallingly. I don’t know if I was generally ignorant of this trend in the past, or if the Internet (and, okay, the advice column I’m addicted to, Dear Prudence at Slate.com) has made it apparent how horrid some people are.
Here’s a short list of shit that people really shouldn’t do (and if you know people who are thinking of doing any of these things, stop them).
1. Endless pregnancy/baby related celebrations. Women have been having babies for millennia. No one should ever:
a. post a picture of their positive pregnancy test to the Internet or social media.
b. have a sonogram/ultrasound party OR a gender-reveal party. It’s just not that important (to anyone but the parents-to-be).
c. have baby showers past baby one. I mean, I guess if it’s been six or ten or fifteen years between babies, more than one baby shower is understandable. But a shower for each baby? No. Overkill. Don’t do it.
2. Do not DEMAND A SHOWER FROM SOMEONE OR THROW YOUR OWN SHOWER, baby or wedding.
3. Speaking of weddings: The Bridezillas of the world have got to be stopped, people. It’s out of hand. Parents of the world, do not raise daughters to believe that their wedding is the most special day of their lives and they have carte blanche to demand that EVERYONE KOWTOW to their every wish. Grooms-to-be, if your formerly sweet girlfriend (now your fiancee) whom you loves turns into someone unrecognizable while planning her wedding, sit her down for a long talk. (Or a short one: Stop it.)
For a short list of things not to do if you are a bride, please see this Gawker article for samples from the Most Demanding Bride Ever.
So many flavors of wrong.
4. Do not ask perfect strangers (or passing acquaintances) nosy questions regarding their child-bearing plans, their pregnancies, their pending labors and deliveries, and/or how (or if) they plan to raise their children. It’s not your business, and you aren’t entitled to know whether or not the mother-to-be is going to opt for an epidural. Unless you had a hand in making that baby, or are the medical professional involved in prenatal care for that baby, don’t ask. MYOB.
5. No one should be in the delivery room except whomever the birthing mother wants to be in the delivery room. No one should ask (or demand) to be in the delivery room. That baby is not going to know (or care) who is there (excepting, probably, its mom, and even then it’s not like a conscious-type “want”, KWIM?). The parents, however, will remember who was a jerk about wanting to be in the delivery room.
6. Do not inform people they have been unfriended or that they are not invited to your upcoming Very Special Celebration. It’s just not nice. If someone is not invited to your wedding, for instance, there is no need to send them an announcement that they will not be invited to your wedding.
6b. Don’t assume you’re invited to someone’s wedding. If you are Facebook friends with people from high school or college, but haven’t talked to them IRL in five years? You’re probably not going to be invited to their wedding. It’s okay. If you’re out drinking with the groom-to-be, and he says, “Hey, man, are you coming to my wedding?” but then you don’t get a paper invite? You’re not invited. It’s okay.
6c. Don’t demand that your children (or grandchildren) be allowed to attend someone else’s wedding. If you want to have kids at your wedding? Go right ahead. Not everyone is as generous as you. (I say this as a person who did not invite the majority of children from my family to my wedding — I have a lot of second cousins who were young when I married 11 years ago.)
7. (This is the one that’s possibly going to hurt some feelings.) Don’t expect everyone to celebrate your birthday with you. If you are over the age of, oh, 18 to 21, the days of “birthday parties” are over.
I say this as a person who enjoys her birthday every year. It’s my day. I believe in celebrating your birthday — it’s your day! Just don’t expect the world to stop and fete you. Those days are gone. Make your own celebration. Treat yourself. And if people offer to 1. take you to dinner or out for drinks or 2. bring you cake, graciously accept. But don’t expect it as your due.
8. Don’t text and drive. I mean, I know everyone knows this. Except the people who think THEY can text and drive, but no one else should. Put the phone down for the drive. It’s okay. You can check your tweets/emails/texts when you park your car.
9. Don’t conflate chastity and celibacy. (All right, this is less about behavior and more of a pet peeve of mine.) Celibacy is a vow to not marry; chastity is a vow not to have sex. Now, in the Catholic church, priests take a vow of celibacy — that is, they vow they will not marry with the understanding that sex outside of marriage is a mortal sin. It’s not breaking their vows, but it’s sinful. Catholics nuns, on the other hand, are sybolically married to Jesus, and they vow to remain chaste, that is, not have sex at all. You can personally vow to not marry or to remain chaste (or both), but don’t declare that you’re “taking a vow of celibacy” if you don’t want to have meaningless sexual encounters (anymore).
10. I guess, to get to the point (too late! haha): it’s not all about you. We need to remember that, while our lives are important to us (and our children are important to us, where applicable), they are not as vitally important to everyone else. Heck, my life isn’t the center of my parents’ lives even (anymore)! And that’s okay.
If we can, we should gently remind others that’s it’s not all about them. I don’t know if it’s helicopter parenting, the Internet and social media, reality television, or the unholy intersection of these factors that lead to this awful expectation of me-type entitlement, but honestly. Let’s all step back a little bit, take a deep breath, and be real. Let’s not behave appallingly. Let’s choose kindness. (h/t Wonder, by R.J. Palacio)
What do you see people regularly doing that you wish they would just stop?