Cruel to be Kind
It’s been said that there will be times in our lives where we have to do or say something to a loved one that is for their best interest no matter how hurtful or painful it might be to hear or do. Most often, it is referred to as, “tough love.” And with this so called, “tough love” there will be incredibly awkward moments, frustrations and at times heartbreak. Which got me thinking…is it really better to be cruel in order to be kind?
It’s been another couple of weeks since I’ve last written the blog and naturally with that, life has had some interesting events in store for me. Three weeks ago, our agency had a company bowling event in Times Square. I was actually having a rather good time and thankfully I had managed to keep my distance from Mr. D. I was actually bowling rather well and holding the highest score when I wasn’t paying attention, Mr. D. had managed to find his way and stood right next to me while I was bowling. He congratulated me on my score and wanted to continue a conversation. I thanked him and decided to move to a different team to bowl. It was cruel and a smidge rude but I was drinking, having a good time with my coworkers and I didn’t want the agency talking about our interaction. After the bowling commenced, our agency ended up going to some disgusting bar called, Latitude, and it was there that another straight co-worker began talking to me. That didn’t sit very well with Mr. D. and next thing I know, I was sandwiched between Mr. D. and this other drunken co-worker who was confessing to me rather loudly that he likes my ass and tends to watch while I walk away in the office hallways. This particular co-worker than grabbed my ass in front of everyone and once he did that, I grabbed my bag and left the party and took my ass home.
The following Tuesday, our agency was having a fundraiser for a co-worker that passed away tragically a few months ago. All the money that we were raising was going to his son that he left behind. Given how upsetting the reason for us all coming together was, there was still a happiness that filled the bar that evening. I wasn’t too keen on the location of where we were having this fundraiser because it was the bar that Mr. D. and I would frequent back when he drank and back when things were good between us. However, I knew this wasn’t about me but about my co-worker, so I managed to smile and do my best to enjoy the fundraiser. I wasn’t there but an hour before Mr. D. showed up and he managed to stay on the other side of the bar.
As a plate of chicken wings (which he knows I don’t eat) came by from a waiter, he rushed over and said, “I know you just love those.” I just smiled and tried to be kind because we were in front of co-workers. He then went onto say, “Why don’t we go downstairs and say hi to our favorite bartender for old time sake.” I knew he asked me this question in front of other co-workers in order to avoid me making a scene and so I said that I would go but only for five minutes. We got downstairs and of course, our bartender recognized us and we caught up with her for a few minutes before she needed to tend to the other patrons. When she walked away, it was just Mr. D. and I and he said, “So, what did you think of that photo I sent you a few weeks ago from Boston? I knew you’d never respond but it made me think of you.” I, once again, found myself just wanting to be kind rather than telling him that him sending photos like that from our past actually hurts me rather than makes me feel better. I told him that it was nice and we than sat in silence before he asked how my summer was going. I told him that I was having a great summer and he confessed to me that his beach house that he took me to last year sold and that his summer wasn’t actually going so well. He also went onto say that the last weekend he ever spent in that house was with me and that it was a great weekend for him. I just smiled and said, “I really need to get back upstairs to the event.” He said, “I’m not going back upstairs and I’m going to go home but it was really nice talking with you.” I smiled, grabbed my bag and went back to the fundraiser. Inside, my feelings were thrown off but outside I smiled and sometimes in life that is what we need to do.
The next morning when I got to work, I spoke with my boss and asked to be removed from any accounts that he works on and asked to be moved to a different account. It was also in that moment that when my supervisor agreed to move me to a different account that I also contacted my head hunter and said I’m ready to see what else is out there. Things are never going to change between Mr. D. and I. And I will never be able to move forward from him, if I’m constantly running into him at the office and company events. I asked my best friend if she thought I was giving him too much power that I would actually leave my work because of him. She asked me, “Do you love your job?” to which I answered, “It’s alright. I don’t love it but it’s not bad.” She then said, “Well, if you don’t love your job than you leaving isn’t giving him power; it’s about you finding a job that you actually love.” I knew I had made the right choice by contacting my head hunter and beginning the process of finding something new.
Since that last agency event which was two weeks ago, Mr. D. and I have managed to not have very much interaction with each other and things have been manageable from a work perspective. However, in addition to work, I also needed to work on my dating life. I had been chatting with this guy from a dating app and after weeks of correspondence and trying to figure out a day and time to meet, we came to the agreement to meet for our first date this past Saturday.
The previous night before my date, I had a rather long night that consisted of meeting friends at Le Bain at the Standard Hotel, followed by a pit stop at a friend’s apartment which led to us all ending the night at The Eagle. I didn’t get home till 3:30 a.m. and therefore I was rather tired on Saturday but I knew that after weeks of communication that I needed to get my act together for my date. My date suggested that we meet at this Mexican restaurant called, Hell’s Kitchen, which is close to my apartment. We met at 7:30 and when I first saw him, I wasn’t instantly attracted to him physically but he also wasn’t unattractive either. I could tell right away that he was nervous but I did my best to calm him down as we sat down for drinks.
After our first drink, he suggested we order some appetizers and possibly another round of margaritas. I was having a descent time getting to know him and then things took a turn that I did not see coming. I asked him, “So, tell me a little bit about your family. Where are you from and do you have siblings?” I think this is a rather standard first date question, at least for me, and my date decided to open up to me because as he said, “You seem like a nice guy and I feel like I could tell you anything.”
My date proceeded to tell me that his parents were swingers and that his dad fell in love with the other woman that he was swinging with. His parents divorced due to that event and he is not close with his siblings. It was there that I tried to shift the conversation away from family and talk about work. It was another bad topic; he works as an admin at a hedge fund in midtown. He got the job because he moved to the city with his ex-boyfriend and shortly after he got to the city, they broke up and so a friend got him the job. He told me that the boyfriend and him used to get into intense fights and it was there that I told him that we should stick to lighter topics.
He excused himself and went to the restroom, while he was in the restroom, I sent a text message to a friend that lives nearby and said we need to meet for drinks because this date is ending very soon. When my date came back, he said, I should tell you that I’m on Adderall at the moment. I told him that if it helps you throughout your day than you should listen to the doctors’ orders. This poor guy just wouldn’t let up with confessing everything to me including how he hooks up with his roommate from time to time. Finally he asked me, “How do you think this date is going?” It was there that I discovered why at times, it is better to be cruel in order to be kind.
I decided to change this from a date to a little bit of therapy and provide him with tips. I told him that over sharing the way he did is probably not the best for a first date and that there are other ways to let your date know the many things that you’ve endured but telling a date that you hook-up with your roommate, that your parents are divorced due to infidelity or that you are currently on drugs is for sure a no-no. I told him that this date isn’t going to lead to a second date but that if you ever need help or guidance on how to conduct yourself on a first date than don’t hesitate to contact me. I knew the poor guy didn’t have many friends nor did he have someone in his life to help him. We settled the bill and we hugged goodbye. I quickly ran over to the bar, Ninth Avenue Saloon, to meet with some friends to laugh at my dating experience. It was at this bar, that we ran into other friends of ours and I met a rather nice guy that led to me thinking that we were flirting with each other. I messaged him yesterday and have yet to hear anything but after that heinous date, it was nice to know that I still had it.
Yesterday, was one of those fantastic “me” days where I did exactly what I wanted. I shopped, read a book and even took myself to a movie and it was the perfect way to end a rather insane past couple of weeks. As I began to get settled in for the night with a good book and my night creams applied to my face, I heard my phone vibrate. When I looked at my phone, it was Mr. D. I hadn’t seen his name appear in my phone since he sent me that photo a month ago. When I saw the message, it was another photo. This time the photo was of a beach and palm trees. I knew he was in California due to work. He also knows how much I love palm trees and the ocean. It was late, I was vulnerable and I wrote back. I just thanked him for sending over the photo and that it looked nice wherever he was at. He said, “This photo is all for you!” I didn’t respond and shut my phone off for the night.
I don’t know where things are going to go. I do know that he can’t come back into my life and that I’m doing all I can to move forward, to make better things happen and that I need to get better at being cruel at times to others even though it might be hurtful at the moment. Those hurtful moments, I hope, will only lead to happiness.
There is a sentence in William Shakespeare’s, Hamlet, that says…
“I must be cruel, only to be kind: Thus bad begins and worse remains behind.”
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