Sunday, 19 April 2015

I Solve Most Of My Problems

I was chatting on the phone to a friend (one of my best) this weekend, and she was telling me how she'd failed in a situation she was describing involving the unexpected arrival of a More-Than-Annoying-Person.

"Did you lose it?" I asked.  "Did you run around screaming?  No?  Under the circumstances, you did well not to break the law."

The problem is, we concluded at the end of laughing, that we both routinely set ourselves standards which are not only unattainable, but also unnecessary.

According to Wikipedia, a source I can now (having resolved to lower my standards) consult without shame, perfectionism is a personality trait characterised by a person's striving for flawlessness and setting excessively high performance standards, accompanied by overly critical self-evaluations and .... [yawn].  The next sentence says something about unattainable ideals.  Well stuff that.

"So," I said to my friend, with the conviction unique to hypocrisy, "your standards are far too high.  Lower them.  If, say, your benchmark was in this instance, 'Deal With Annoying Person Whilst Avoiding Criminal Activity', you'd have reached it with, dare I say it, room to spare.  Instead of feeling like a failure, you should be proud of yourself."  She had to agree.  

Taking my own advice, I am spending this evening with a glass of wine, busily lowering my standards all round. 


  1. Thanks for this, Liz.
    I sometimes have this sort of conversation with my friend Debbie, the Panjandrum of The Rose & Crown in Blackpool Town Centre where Anne and I used to eat three or four lunchtimes a week (Blackpool's best spot for people-watching, the cheapest hobby on the planet).
    Like me (and Anne), Debbie is often told she is "too posh" when all she feels she is doing is trying to live a civilised life, and expecting others to be civil too.
    Given the low, low standards of too many customers, unfortunately, it is astonishing that Debbie has not brained someone by now. Why people believe that those working in shops or pubs or restaurants can be treated as skivvies beats me - the better you treat someone who is serving you, the more likely it is that the service you receive will be of an even more impeccable standard than usual.
    I suppose it helps that from the age of about 12 or 13, I had Saturday jobs in shops, and, once I was "of age", earned part-time as a barman and other jobs where I became used to dealing with all sorts and conditions of human being.
    There is no doubt that there are a few miserable souls who delight in being as awkward as possible, but what really annoys them is when you smile and say Thank You !

  2. Very true! Thanks for taking time to comment.