Not to get all Larry David on anyone but a story keeps running through my head. To tell it is going to make me sound like a rabid, touchy, hormonal teenager but really I feel like a rabid, touchy, hormonal mom who is oh-so-fng-exhausted and a little confused.
When I was 19ish, I worked at a Sheraton (what-what Sheraton crew). The location was prime for business travelers and NYC vacationers alike. We were on the Hudson River so we hosted a lot of wedding and romantic getaways etc. This meant that we had a lot of hi-falutin’ clients who were spending a lot of dough and therefore expecting perfection at every turn. Understandably.
These clients were easily prone to agitation, large demands and wanting to “see a manager” over the tiniest transgression. “I specifically TOLD you that I require down pillows and NOT cotton! How many TIMES do I have to say it?! *Jags of frustrated crying*” And, it is frustrating when you are paying for a service that you don’t get.
What my manager taught me to do was to hear the person out and then calmly say, “Please tell me what I can do to help” rather than starting to make suggestions to the person. If you start to suggest ways that you can help, the person will inevitably knock them down and ask for more. By putting the onus on the person, you are guaranteeing two things:
1) Most people are so taken aback to be offered “the sky is the limit help” that they usually just ask for something silly or nothing at all.
2) The person feels heard and walks away feeling like they got something out of the exchange.
This is a clever trick because 9 times out of 10, you get away without having to actually give something whereas when you offer something specific, you are bound to carry it out.
There is also a “Curb Your Enthusiasm” episode where one of his acquaintances father dies. Larry tells his friend, “Let me know if there is anything I can do”. The friend tells Larry he actually needs help with a few minor funeral arrangements and hilarity ensues because Larry becomes infuriated that the platitude was called in as a favor. I actually found the conversation on Urban Dictionary:
Making a nice (fake) gesture for someone when you don’t really mean it, hoping that the person who you are making that gesture to won’t actually ask you for a favor, or follow up on that offer you made. You just say it to seem like a nice person. This phrase is used in Curb Your Enthusiasm.
Larry David: Well, If there is anything I can do, let me know.
Marty Funkhouser: You know what, there is something you can do.
Larry David: What, are you kidding?
Marty Funkhouser: What, you didn’t mean it?
Larry David: Of course not!
Marty Funkhouser: Well why did you say it then?
Larry David: You know, it’s an empty gesture; something to say!
Larry David (saying to Jeff Greene): Don’t make an empty gesture to a Funkhouser, they’ll take you up on it!
I’m really not trying to be a dick here. We appreciate every kind word. But we are exceedingly needy and sensitive right now so please just be careful what you say. In our experience, such as when we moved out here, “let me know if there is anything I can do’s” were thrown out like nothing and snatched back as soon as we said, “yeah actually…” We let it go because we were filled with a hope and excitement that we are currently not feeling.
So yes we need kind words. Yes we need good friends and family. No we don’t want to totally alienate ourselves. But seriously, rather than offering that phrase up, find a way to pull it through somehow. You don’t have to spend money but find a way. We need picking up, not empty words. And if you’ve said that to us and have seriously meant it, know that we will never call in that favor, it’s not how we’re wired. If you want to help, just help. If not, no problem.
And huge thank you’s to everyone reading this and who have helped us out so much. I am not a bad person, I am just feeling really discouraged and could really use a little bit of help from my friends and family. Sometimes you have to put what you want out into the ether and have faith that you’ll get it. That’s all I’m trying to do for both of us. Kristyn’s just not as vocal as I am haha.
So thank you and I’m sorry if this seems bratty, I just can’t stand any more disappointment.
Also, I eventually WILL go back to my previously scheduled “It’s a Sunshine Day!” attitude but I have experienced a lot of really difficult setbacks lately and reserve the right to be miserable. If I can help you guys help us by making my feelings plain, maybe it will cause us less hurt later. Or something. I don’t know. Whatever you know what I mean.