My little sister texted me in a fit of nerves. She was panicking because she'd gotten drunk on Friday night and slept with a co-worker.
“I'm really worried I messed everything up by hooking up with Tim*, and now my time here is going to be even worse than it was going to be,” she said. She's a research intern out west, and she's been having a hard time adjusting to life in the desert.
She was so worried, but I knew she was the only one who even cared about this drunken mistake. In all likelihood, her friends had all forgotten about it. And if they hadn't, she'd be the butt of their jokes for a few days and then it would all blow over.
“Do you know how many guys I've had sex with who I shouldn't have? A LOT," I said. “Just completely ignore this. Pretend it never happened, refuse to acknowledge it and never speak of it again. If he tries to bring it up, you shut that sh*t down and walk away.”
I think I made her feel a bit better. That's what sisters are for, right?
The thing is, we all let ourselves fall down the hungover shame spiral. We wake up and think, I ruined my life. Everyone is going to remember how I made out with that boy or passed out and fell off a barstool.
It's not even just drunken mistakes that we beat ourselves up over. It's the dumb thing we said at dinner with friends, the time we talked over a co-worker and got chewed out or the time we got caught eating our roommate's food. We think it's the end of the world.
This is the thing you guys have to remember: NO ONE CARES ABOUT THAT STUPID THING YOU DID. YOU ARE THE ONLY ONE WHO IS FREAKING OUT.
People are way too self-centered to worry about you.
Remember this: People don't care about what you do. They only care about their own lives. (People are so selfish. Seriously.)
You are freaking out over how drunk you got last night while your friends are doing the exact same thing. And sure, you might have done something really tragic, like the time I passed out at the company holiday party, but people get over it.
I can't tell you how many times my friends have asked me, “Is everyone mad at me about last night?” or “Was I the worst?” I don't even remember. And even if I did, I probably wouldn't care that much.
People get drunk, and people do dumb sh*t. Whatever.
Someone has always done something worse.
Look, am I saying you didn't win the night for the asshat award? No. You might have been a real mess last night. You may have punched someone and gotten your friends kicked out of the bar, or you might have had a random lesbian hookup with a sexy girl with tattoos in front of the whole crowd.
But the reality of the situation is this: These hilarious, random, weird memories are the spice of life. They are what will sustain you when you're wrinkled, old and living in a home.
And what's more, someone will ALWAYS top you. There is nothing you can do that hasn't been done before. Just forgive yourself and move on. You're not a bad person because you acted like an idiot.
It will blow over because people have short attention spans.
People may find what you did so funny that it becomes a story, but no one is going to obsess over this thing you did. I swear to you. No one is going to hold this mistake over your head for the rest of your life. Friends don't judge.
And if they do judge you, ask yourself this: Who cares about other people's stupid opinions? You are making yourself miserable for no reason. Write an entry in your journal, wash your face, take a few deep breaths and move on. Take a big old drink of self-love because we are all human beings who are fallible to the core.
Life is waiting for you to keep living it, not stressing it. Cheers to the next big mistake.
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* Name has been changed.