Why you should quit trying to be cool
I spend a grotesque amount of time trying to get people to think well of me.
Trying to say something clever so they'll think I'm smart, buying new clothes so they'll think I'm fashionable, trying to post something cool so they'll think I'm cool, vacuuming my front room so they'll think my house is clean, offering excuses so I don't have to apologize.
Here's the problem. All of those attempts are pretty transparent. (Sadly, nobody thinks I'm cool.)
But even worse, these things don't improve my relationships. They keep my focus on myself and how I "look" instead of on other people and what they might want or need.
Personally, the people I admire most aren't the ones who are the best-dressed with the cleanest house. (Actually, I kind of hate them.) So why do I want people to see me that way?
The people I admire are the ones who are open, apologetic, grateful, helpful, and real. The ones who I let in to my messy house because I know they won't judge. The ones who have better and more honest things to do than to try to look "cool" and "perfect".
A recent study shows we tend to worry that it's risky to show weakness and vulnerability. But we're wrong, because other people actually admire and respect vulnerability! It's this crazy thing where we worry so much about what other people think that they actually like us less! Because they can tell we're worrying about what other people think, instead of just being open.
Be open. Be yourself. Don't be afraid to be an idiot if that's what you are. Then you'll be free from self-concern and free to build the relationships that make life such a joy.