As some of you may know, I’m in the process of watching “How I Met Your Mother” on Netflix from the beginning to see just how much I have in common with its main character, Ted Mosby. (Five-plus seasons in… the accuracy is frightening.)
One of the episodes today was entitled, “Hooked,” which basically explained how we keep people “on the hook” by never cutting ties with them completely and stringing them along with the false hope that it will blossom into something one day: “I can’t be with you… right now.”
It’s one of the episodes that I’ve never seen, and I wish I had stumbled upon it years ago, months ago, weeks ago, days ago — sooner than I did. It was an eye-opening experience, seeing how hypothetical situations in a television show relate to your actual life.
It’s also a perfect example to support my theory that we continue to become more selfish as time goes on. It’s one thing to put yourself first, but it’s another thing to focus on yourself while completely ignoring someone else’s feelings.
I can’t remember how many times I’ve been “on the hook,” but I remember all too well what the most recent experience did to me and how I acted during it. While the greater majority of my actions during that eight-month window were pathetic (I can admit it), watching the episode also made me glad that I pressed her for an answer. More accurately, I pressed her to just tell me, “No,” if that’s how she really felt. She didn’t have to worry about my feelings or anything because I just wanted that hope to go away forever.
I’ve long believed that the truth — in the long run — will always be the better alternative to stringing someone along while “trying to let them down easily.” The immediate aftermath may be messier, but it will clean up faster and make things better over time. The stringing along only builds resentment.
I like to think that I’ve never kept anyone on the hook in the past, and I can say safely predict that the chances of me doing it in the future are slim. One of the biggest things that has helped me handle situations better — in life, love, work, etc. — is putting myself in other people’s shoes. Reversing the roles. How would I feel if I were them?
I’ve been on the hook, and it sucks. I’d rather break a girl’s heart with a clear-cut, “No,” than drag her along an emotional dirt road. It’s tough to be that person, which is why I don’t completely blame the girl who hooked me, but it has to be done.
We already have Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, Tumblr, Vine, YouTube (for those who create content) and more social media applications coming out seemingly every year that are focused on us being the star: The thoughts in our heads matter. The photos we take of our lives matter. The videos documenting our day matter. It’s no wonder why we’re so selfish.
I’m no different. I know that I’ve become significantly more selfish now than before all of these apps starting popping up (I mean, you’re reading this on mikezacchio.com, for goodness sake), but I try to make sure that I never become so self-involved that I ignore the people who are important to me in my life.
I’m not saying that it’ll be an easy fix for us to become more compassionate towards others, but I do think we could try a hell of a lot harder than we do.