How to not be Arrogant

A high school classmate once told me that I was arrogant and that nothing I said or did could convince her otherwise. This all changed one weekend when I ran into her at the rock climbing gym. She was working through some of the more challenging paths while I was struggling to figure out the easier ones. I finally asked for her help. She relented and gave me a demonstration. And the more she showed me, the warmer we both became. Her attitude toward me visibly changed.

My grandfather once told me that if you want to relate to someone, ask him a question. Ask him to explain something to you, to teach you how to do something. By doing so, you acknowledge that you have something to learn from him. And by demonstrating that you are eager to learn from others, that you find others interesting, you communicate openness and respect for what they do. Read the rest of this entry »

Good Girl Gone Bad

Recently I’ve been asking a question that always takes my friends aback: am I a good girl or a bad girl? In asking, I never define the terms, so my poor respondents are left considering the vast social and sexual minefield between good and bad. The guys I ask, in particular seem to have been brought up thinking bad girl equals slut, but the idea I’m trying to get at is broader – who am I? What defines me? Am I an academic achiever? New York review of books reader? The girl who has a Github repo or the girl who has a social skills blog?

As expected, the responses I receive depend heavily on the context in which I know the person. People I pset with or lecture to will unequivocally say good girl. People I’ve met at parties or hostels will qualify that. My closest girlfriends laugh, and given the number of conversations we’ve had under the influence of Cards Against Humanity, I forgive them. One friend says I’m a good girl pretending to be a bad girl pretending to be a good girl, which is just aphoristic enough to be right. Read the rest of this entry »