On healthy cynicism.

Dear Coquette,

No one will hire me. I’ve been applying for entry-level crappy barista and hostess jobs, and apparently no one thinks I’m competent enough to do a job a smart 6-year-old could do perfectly. Being a barista does not take skill. Smiling and showing people to a table does not require the degree that I’m in the middle of completing, yet no one wants me. Why?

You’re not getting hired because there are dozens of other people applying for the same jobs who are less of a bitch than you. Scoring an entry-level service industry gig isn’t about your competency. It’s about your attitude, and yours needs adjusting.

Drop the sense of entitlement. Employers can smell it on you before you walk in the door. One eye-roll within 50 feet of the interview, and you’ve already lost the job.

You’re not gonna get hired until you get humble, so get humble fast. Hell, you shouldn’t even have any pride to swallow. Show up shining, and be grateful just to be in the room.

If you’re not ready to hear me yet, that’s fine. Keep doing what you’re doing, because life has a way of beating this lesson into you eventually.

Do you believe all relationships between young people are bound to fail? I have been with my boyfriend for three years. He is my best friend and I want to be with him for the rest of my life. But we are only 17 and 18 and I will be going on to college soon (though it is less than two hours away and likely he will go to college there, too). Is this an irrational hope or could two teenagers grow up without growing apart?

You can certainly stay in each other’s lives, but that doesn’t mean you’ll stay a couple. Maybe you will. Odds are, you won’t. That’s okay, though. Just remember that your relationship isn’t a failure if you grow apart romantically.

You are first loves and childhood best friends. That will always count for something, even if the two of you eventually grow apart. Life is long, sweetheart. Five years from now your circumstances are going to be completely different. If your lives change together, that’s great. If not, that’s okay, too.

Yes, if you eventually break up it will be incredibly painful, but pain is inevitable. It’s all part of the journey.

Do you feel like it’s possible to live a happy life as a cynical person?

Sure. They say ignorance is bliss, but if you already know too much about the world, a healthy dose of cynicism (especially in the classical sense) actually helps with happiness.

Cynicism is basically just pragmatic skepticism. It’s not inherently negative, but it gets a bad rap because people often confuse it with the negative attitude that comes from ironic detachment. That’s not really cynicism. That’s just being an asshole.

Just don’t let any misanthropy get mixed in with your cynicism, and you’ll be fine. 


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