Tag Archives: Friends

Stop Asking: “Are You OK?”

A few weeks ago, I levelled a criticism at parents who attempt to dissuade their children from feeling their feelings in the moment. That is, as soon as they begin to cry, parents usually try to quash the children’s feeling by saying, “You’re OK,” or “You’re fine.” I think that this same attitude carries on when parents (or people) are dealing with older children (or other people) and something happens.

Consider a couple of teenagers who are playing soccer. One of them falls down and ceases playing for a couple of seconds. Almost always, the teenager who hasn’t fallen will immediately say to the other, “Are you OK?” I’m sure we’ve all been the teenager who’s fallen and scraped our knee and I’m sure we’ve all been the teenager who asks our friend if they’re OK, but this is an extension of the problem that begins when we’re toddlers — we’re not allowing the person the space to feel the feelings that they’re feeling.

By quickly jumping in and asking, “Are you OK?” one probably thinks that they’re being a good friend. My friend has just hurt themselves, so I should ask and see if they’re okay. Certainly, that’s the right spirit. However, by jumping in so quickly, it’s actually demonstrating to your friend that you’re uncomfortable with their pain/feelings. Let’s say that your friend starts to cry. Forgot that, let’s say that you have just begun to cry. When you’re crying, do you really want someone to ask how you’re doing? Well, if you’ve been asked that you’re whole life, you probably do, but if you stop and think about it for a second, when you’re crying (or when you’re upset), the best thing for you is space.

I’m not saying you (or your friend) should walk away when you (or your friend) begins to cry, no. Instead, you (or your friend) should sit there with you and allow you the space to feel the feelings — let you cry. After an acceptable amount of time (this varies), then it might be appropriate to break the silence, but if it were me, I’d actually wait until the person who’s crying begins saying something. By simply being there with your friend in their time of need, you’re holding a safe space that allows them to process their emotions/feelings. And if/when you do that, you’ll be giving your friend a gift they probably haven’t had the chance to experience.

The “Real” Purpose of Television: Entertainment, Escapism, and Employment

On one of my trips a couple of months ago, I found myself at the hotel. I wasn’t feeling at my best, so I decided to spend some time watching TV. Now, this is quite an aberration for me because I haven’t had an actual physical “TV” to watch since before my days as an undergrad. I still catch some episodes of shows, but that’s mainly online and at my own convenience. The first thing that I noticed upon watching TV is that TVs have really changed. It looks like I really missed the boat on the whole revolution thing. It really is a much different experience watching TV now than it was years ago when I used to have a steady diet of , , , and .

Now, before I even turned on the TV, like I mentioned earlier, I wasn’t feeling very well. In fact, I was feeling kind of crappy and I thought that watching a little TV would be relaxing. Boy, was I wrong! After turning the TV on, I proceeded to (flip) from channel-to-channel for nearly 3 hours. I couldn’t watch just one thing, my brain wanted to keep tabs on three, four, or five different programs that were on TV. I think part of this is because I have trained my brain to be so attuned to different tabs (on my browser) as well as applications on my computer.

When I was finally shaken free from this never-ending loop, I noticed that I was more tired than when I had started watching TV — and it was the middle of the day! Taking stock of what had just happened, I wondered: what is TV really for? Is TV really meant to be a relaxing experience at the end of the night? Is it just a tool to escape reality?

As puts it:

Call me old-fashioned, but I still like to watch television to be entertained or escape reality. . .

And why is it that we need to watch TV to escape reality? Is reality so bad that we need to supplement our experience with television? Don’t get me wrong, I’m not condemning those who would watch TV as an escape, no. Much of the way our society is structured, watching TV as an escape is part of what keeps some people ‘sane’ at the end of the day. Watching TV is part of the way they can get from the end of work to bed and then back to work again without having to think about the fact that they don’t like their job so much. But why is it that we work in jobs that we don’t like so much, to the point that we need to use TV as an escape from our reality (because reality is not enough or too painful)?

While I can’t say that I know the “real purpose of television,” I think it’s worth debating the effects of TV on society. I really think that watching TV is a mechanism that allows people to stay at jobs that they are otherwise less pleased about. Being able to tune into a created reality (or sometimes an actual reality) of a situation that they envy or can vicariously live through is something that I think allows people to feel better about themselves and by extension their life. Feeling better about one’s life makes one less likely to reflect on the things that aren’t going as well as they would have planned in life. So, like I said, I don’t proclaim to know the real purpose of TV, but I think that it can be argued that a fair majority of television is meant to entertain, allow for escapism, and sustain employment.