12

votes

How to stave off misanthropy?

Answered on August 19, 2014
Created January 25, 2012 at 4:48 AM

I'm surrounded every day by my high school peers, chowing down on fries and pizza and god knows what else. Girls complaining about "how hard it is to keep [their] figure" while sporting trays filled with brownies and chocolate croissants, because they've earned it for dutifully switching to diet soda. Chubby, borderline diabetic 'athletes' choking down spaghetti and ravioli, covered with mountains of low-fat sauces, because, you know, you gotta watch your fat intake, man, that stuff can kill you. Presumable homophobes calling me 'gay' for eating bowls of vegetables (I kid you not), which are for sissies, and evidently, in the words of a double-chinned self-styled scientist friend of mine, "nothing more than empty cellulose and water." The same psuedointellectual friend who lectures me on why this diet of mine, due to my inclusion of cooked food, isn't technically ancestral, all while shoving a slice of soggy pizza down his oesophagus.

How on earth do you, my wonderful fellow paleo men and women, deal with this crap from day to day without succumbing to full-fledged misanthropy?

78cb3c4f70de5db2adb52b6b9671894b

(5519)

on May 07, 2012
at 06:08 AM

Thank you. I really don't understand people here who act all flabbergasted when they say that they told their co-workers all about paleo and how grains are evil and the cause of their weight problems and diabetes and that they just need to cut it all out, right after said co-worker ate a sandwich. It's all about the approach and not trying to lecture anyone. Good intentions with a "holier than thou"/know-it-all attitude rubs people the wrong way.

A5045829eed6734649c9676279a52e3f

on January 27, 2012
at 01:03 PM

Some people, like some foods, are toxic. You are wise to avoid them. That's not misanthropy, that's good sense. There are other people out there who, like other foods, will build you up. You'll find each other, which is what brings us joy in life.

6120c989fd5b69f42a0834b69b87955b

(24553)

on January 27, 2012
at 11:00 AM

I'm liking your style here raydawg. I'm pretty sure that is why the edit function is open to all. If we take care of each others typos instead of just bitching about them it elevates the message of the entire community.

96440612cf0fcf366bf5ad8f776fca84

(19473)

on January 27, 2012
at 10:55 AM

@hacker, happy now?

9f54852ea376e8e416356f547611e052

(2957)

on January 27, 2012
at 09:47 AM

Actually, Jeff, it does NOT get better, probably worse. The same idiots will grow up to be just as opinionated and ignorant, and might end up as your boss.

2ab6415f5f20b8fe1d34a94c7be85e6a

on January 27, 2012
at 06:14 AM

Obesity rate is way lower than that. Wait not weight. Maybe not Maby.

6120c989fd5b69f42a0834b69b87955b

(24553)

on January 26, 2012
at 04:02 AM

I hear you Evelyn, sticking it out will make things easier as far as paperwork/college choice, and a GED could be a gamble, but there are options that look good to colleges as long as you test well on entrance exams like traveling, unschooling, mentoring, volunteering, etc. It is perfectly normal to take community college classes for HS credit Junior and Senior year for at least part of the day (which could be strategically scheduled around lunch and save some money later not having to take 101 classes). Socially, I found that life just got to be a lot more bearable when I got to college.

D117467bf8e8472464ece2b81509606c

(2873)

on January 26, 2012
at 01:55 AM

It's the title of Fiona Apple's second album. I really like her writing. Fun fact: it held the record for the longest album title ever!

D8f58eba263277ec6119293137b85b02

(1071)

on January 25, 2012
at 11:18 PM

If only I had the audacity. ;)

24df4e0d0e7ce98963d4641fae1a60e5

on January 25, 2012
at 10:38 PM

I down voted this answer, not to be nasty or anything, but because I think it is bad advice for the most part. First, a GED vs. a diploma is different so the diploma would be better. But going from high school peer groups to the varied student body at a community college, or to an older student body at a 4 year school is going to be far more challenging. There's lessons to be learned and character to be built learning to cope with unpleasant and uncomfortable situations. Seek out others with similar interests. You can't possibly be alone.

Bdf98e5a57befa6f0877f978ba09871c

on January 25, 2012
at 10:05 PM

I added it because it helped me to assert my own selfhood within many a clamors to be part of a group. But understood.

6120c989fd5b69f42a0834b69b87955b

(24553)

on January 25, 2012
at 10:02 PM

Well said, I'm guessing you were infinitely more pleasant to be around that I was in HS.

6120c989fd5b69f42a0834b69b87955b

(24553)

on January 25, 2012
at 10:01 PM

Upvoted, but with one condition, if I was struggling with misanthropic impulses I think Ayn Rand would push me right over the edge. I don't know if it is still in print, but I would add "The Teenage Liberation Handbook" to this list.

5e36f73c3f95eb4ea13a009f4936449f

(8280)

on January 25, 2012
at 09:11 PM

They rarely do. There's a saying "Pick your battles". But you only learn how to do that by experience in losing battles. :)

96440612cf0fcf366bf5ad8f776fca84

(19473)

on January 25, 2012
at 09:05 PM

Ask her to make sure she's got a high life insurance policy because you'll need it to buy grassfed beef livers when she kicks the bucket. :) (Well don't actually say that.)

Cf4576cbcc44fc7f2294135609bce9e5

(3125)

on January 25, 2012
at 09:02 PM

i bet school teachers really get pissed hearing they are just baby sitters. they are always demanding to be paid more than you.

Bdf98e5a57befa6f0877f978ba09871c

on January 25, 2012
at 09:01 PM

I got so damn bored in school I did the hardest track available. At least that way my opinions were met with intelligent responses. I learned a lot more too. It may not be a good cure for misanthropy, but it goes a long way.

F1b39d4f620876330312f4925bd51900

(4090)

on January 25, 2012
at 08:59 PM

There are other options to a GED. Ask your school adviser about accelerated graduation options. I did some work at home packet classes out of a local community college that counted towards graduating early.

96440612cf0fcf366bf5ad8f776fca84

(19473)

on January 25, 2012
at 08:52 PM

Where's that quote from? Pretty good stuff.

D3f3b91d1dd9ce60865654faeb2ec809

on January 25, 2012
at 08:41 PM

This is actually a private school, believe it or not. I think I'll take this advice to heart- I've been trying to convince some of my more intelligent friends, foolishly hoping that they'd listen if I presented a rational argument with ample evidence in the form of medical studies. Of course, they didn't.

D3f3b91d1dd9ce60865654faeb2ec809

on January 25, 2012
at 08:39 PM

This is actually a private school, believe it or not. I think I'll take this advice to heart- I've been trying to convince some of my more intelligent friends, foolishly thinking that they'd listen to a well-argued rational argument. Of course, they didn't.

6120c989fd5b69f42a0834b69b87955b

(24553)

on January 25, 2012
at 08:26 PM

If the veggies are drawing the scorn, you could just butch it up a bit and gnaw on big turkey drumsticks cooked chunks of meat at lunch.

6120c989fd5b69f42a0834b69b87955b

(24553)

on January 25, 2012
at 07:52 PM

I think it depends on the "when" and the "how" you take your GED. If you are a freshman or sophomore who needs a more stimulating environment and are taking it so as to apply to community or state college early and are pursuing extracurricular education opportunities I don't think it would hold you back. If you took it long after or around normal graduation time it would probably not look as good. I didn't go the GED route myself, but I did do an exchange program just to get out of there for half a year, and then did a condensed course load senior year to graduate 2 quarters early.

5e36f73c3f95eb4ea13a009f4936449f

(8280)

on January 25, 2012
at 07:33 PM

Not really. All it takes is money.

E7a462d6e99fec7e8f0ddda11b34a770

(1638)

on January 25, 2012
at 06:34 PM

Best thing I've read all day. Let's hear it for all the misfits out there!

E7a462d6e99fec7e8f0ddda11b34a770

(1638)

on January 25, 2012
at 06:31 PM

+1 especially for THIS - "enjoy the best parts every individual has to offer while letting the other stuff go"

Ab19df3ededa28f7bf7daeba8435b205

(1471)

on January 25, 2012
at 05:31 PM

You sound wise beyond you years. Glad you found Paleo this early. How did you find Paleo?

D1728f99db66ff91d695a6df5cd38b02

(1368)

on January 25, 2012
at 03:35 PM

I agree with Korion that they are jealous. I would be pissed if I was a high school brat who was overweight and saw one of my friends eating healthy while I ate pizza. Probably just lashing out and trying to bring your down. It will help probably if you try and stay a bit happy. Minsanthropy is a red flag for high schoolers to give you more shit. Sounds like you have your stuff together, unfortunate for the other kids.

D3f3b91d1dd9ce60865654faeb2ec809

on January 25, 2012
at 02:54 PM

@Joy: another year and a half, unfortunately.

D1728f99db66ff91d695a6df5cd38b02

(1368)

on January 25, 2012
at 02:36 PM

High school sucks. It sounds like the absolute worst place to be Paleo. How long do you have left?

B0fe7b5a9a197cd293978150cbd9055f

(8938)

on January 25, 2012
at 12:22 PM

They're just jealous/afraid of what they don't understand. The best way to deal with it is by improving your health. They'll shut their big mouth eventually. My older brother used to call me gay all the time, annoyed the heck out of me. Now he's the one with acne and no muscles. Never bothers me again. But I'm NEVER gonna call him gay.

B0fe7b5a9a197cd293978150cbd9055f

(8938)

on January 25, 2012
at 12:17 PM

Tell those double-chinned scientists that the only thing made out of only cellulose and water is their brain.

Bf57bcbdc19d4f1728599053acd020ab

(5043)

on January 25, 2012
at 10:03 AM

Wise words. Particularly the "have fun" and "be respectful" part. We could all use a little lightening up from time to time.

Bf57bcbdc19d4f1728599053acd020ab

(5043)

on January 25, 2012
at 10:00 AM

stay in your cave while you eat

9f54852ea376e8e416356f547611e052

(2957)

on January 25, 2012
at 09:57 AM

+1, used the same cliche as I did :P

9f54852ea376e8e416356f547611e052

(2957)

on January 25, 2012
at 09:57 AM

I'm no expert on US high schools, but I believe it is MUCH harder to get to ANY college with a GED than "proper" HS certificate.

9f54852ea376e8e416356f547611e052

(2957)

on January 25, 2012
at 09:54 AM

Live and let live. In other words, ignore it and don't give unsolicited advice.

D7cc4049bef85d1979efbd853dc07c8e

(4029)

on January 25, 2012
at 05:50 AM

Fire was invented how many years ago? For what, just keeping warm?

64433a05384cd9717c1aa6bf7e98b661

(15236)

on January 25, 2012
at 05:45 AM

wow.... it gets better ;)

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23 Answers

best answer

17
Be1dbd31e4a3fccd4394494aa5db256d

(17969)

on January 25, 2012
at 06:02 AM

You're probably not going to change the minds of most of those around you, so you clearly need to change your mind and make peace with some things while waiting for an opening to facilitate change. If you can't possibly do anything it is irrational to let it affect you. It is difficult at first to see people ruining their health and remain silent, but when considering the hopelessness of the situation it is hard to avoid eventually developing a stoicism to it. Oh sure we do what we can within our own narrow fields of influence, but most of what we do is preaching to the converted and refining our knowledge. You are especially not going to get through to most children. Their minds couldn't be further from prudence, and they feel invincible. There are plenty of adult children you won't get through to either, even when they're dying of diabetes, but at least then the more intelligent people will listen. And of course there will be some who will be persuaded, they are the outliers like yourself, and you must seek them out.

It is important to realize that this is the domain of science and reason, but mostly science and reason as opposed to pure reason. If you wish to change skeptical minds you need to be prepared to offer solid evidence for the truthfulness of your claims, and the mind that is receiving this evidence needs to be able to process it. You must also be non-insulting and display respect for the other, or they will never listen with an open mind. It shouldn't be a lecture, it should be a conversation between open, inquisitive minds.

Willingness to evaluate evidence, ability to process it, and a healthy dialogue between peers with a rapport are necessary conditions for changing skeptical minds. For the non-skeptical, just make it sound really awesome and fun and they might just join in. Some people are just looking for a new experience, but it has to be fun. There are -some- people who have given the world of health a bad image as insufferable, holier-than-thou moralizers who enjoy telling other people that they are just-so-very-healthy (and therefore superior) and that if you don't do what they say you will die a terrible death. This image is widespread and there is vehement resistance to it, understandably so. It must be overcome. This is the best thing guys like Mark Sisson have done, they have made health sexy.

There is also the intimate connection people have to food. Giving up addictive processed food is tough and it is important to realize this and empathize with people. Just because you can doesn't mean that it is just as easy for everyone else.

If people are making particular claims that are unsupported or demonstrably false, you must change the context. It is perverse to stand there face to face and make unsubstantiated claims about science, because there is no way to verify them in person. It amounts to a bunch of posturing and blustering with no way to resolve the dispute. What I do is explain that there is indeed no way for me to verify a claim in person and that if they would like to convince me they should take my e-mail address and supply me with scientific evidence which I may review at a later date and get back to them. That produces meaningful dialogue some of the time. But mostly it just ends the dialogue completely, which can also be desirable!

There are no easy solutions, but there are solutions if you are willing to work on it. Best of luck.

Bf57bcbdc19d4f1728599053acd020ab

(5043)

on January 25, 2012
at 10:03 AM

Wise words. Particularly the "have fun" and "be respectful" part. We could all use a little lightening up from time to time.

9
Dc6407193ba441d1438f6f0c06af872b

on January 25, 2012
at 11:38 AM

You got lucky. You stumbled upon the correct way to eat, you've not absorted the misinformation about calories-in-caloried-out, you were born or raised or whatever with the gift of being able to break your addiction to foods that are designed to tempt you beyond your ability to resist. All this while still in high school. Let's just say, I wish I had been so fortunate. (Not that it was all luck, not at all, but you should appreciate the advantages that you had.)

I'm guessing people were you two years ago. They don't need your scorn. They need your help, those few that are ready for it. As the rest of us have learned, only a few percent will be receptive -- they're addicts, after all.

But remember through all this that while you've figured this out, there are probably a ton of things that others have figured out that are not so easy for you to negotiate, and hopefully they are not walking around scorning you because of it, although they probably are. That's another mistake they're doing that you want to avoid.

People are human, which means they do a lot of idiotic things. They also end up doing some cool things too. So lead by example, and enjoy the best parts every individual has to offer while letting the other stuff go.

E7a462d6e99fec7e8f0ddda11b34a770

(1638)

on January 25, 2012
at 06:31 PM

+1 especially for THIS - "enjoy the best parts every individual has to offer while letting the other stuff go"

8
D8f58eba263277ec6119293137b85b02

on January 25, 2012
at 02:41 PM

I'm in high school too, and while this may not be the approach that you were looking for, my solution is simple: I don't eat lunch around them. I usually eat with my sociology teacher in her classroom. I do this because I have chronic migraines which get worse in a crowded cafeteria, but unless your high school is stricter than mine, you can probably just find a place to be alone and eat there regardless of your reasons. I've been misanthropic long before I started eating healthily, and my solution is to try to avoid those who piss me off and surround myself with those who don't. If you don't enjoy being around the people whom you eat lunch with, then stop eating lunch with them if you can manage it. When the weather's nice I eat lunch on a bench outside; I get questioning looks from people walking in and out, but it's less about what I eat and more about why I'm eating alone in such a weird place - which I prefer.

At home, though, it's a completely different matter: I have a morbidly obese mother who will eat an entire box of cookies/crackers/what-have-you in a sitting, but buys fat-free half-and-half (a product that doesn't even make sense, yet somehow exists) and sugar-free, artifical syrup for her coffee. She tells me, while downing synthetic ingredients laced with hydrogenated oils, not to eat grass-fed cow organs - she doesn't even specify liver, just everything but muscle - because "that's where all the toxins are" and refuses my offer to email her some links to prove her wrong. It's extremely frustrating.

PS: Your prose is wonderful.

96440612cf0fcf366bf5ad8f776fca84

(19473)

on January 25, 2012
at 09:05 PM

Ask her to make sure she's got a high life insurance policy because you'll need it to buy grassfed beef livers when she kicks the bucket. :) (Well don't actually say that.)

D8f58eba263277ec6119293137b85b02

(1071)

on January 25, 2012
at 11:18 PM

If only I had the audacity. ;)

8
7b263b5be50b6032cd847bc40c018153

on January 25, 2012
at 05:47 AM

Stop looking at what other people are doing and listening to what they think about you. Stop trying to rank yourself in relation to other people, and just be well. These things get easier with practice.

6
24df4e0d0e7ce98963d4641fae1a60e5

on January 25, 2012
at 02:57 PM

My how times have changed. I was a "jock" in high school and I don't recall many of the athletes at my school -- not known for being an athletic powerhouse in our small-school leagues -- being double chinned porkers. I was also one of those girls, and none of my fellow classmates were sporting brownies and junk -- back then the standard diet lunch was a yogurt (full fat Dannon, unfortunately with sugar/fruit on the bottom to stir in - 250 cals) and maybe a salad with lemon juice (there weren't lots of low fat dressings yet available in that day).

I'm sorry you are being ridiculed for eating veggies, but your view of your classmates seems more than just a bit skewed to me. Either it's real and I'm blind when I look out at my classes of mostly freshmen this semester -- who look no fatter than pictures from my freshman year in college would demonstrate (eek, about 3 decades ago! STOP making me feel so old!!) -- or it's distorted by your own perceptions of having found "the right way" to eat.

This is not a knock on paleo, but to put it in context, I'm quite sure there are many vegetarians who look at the meat on the plates of their peers and perceive all manner of issues others have that they are saving themselves from. Ditto the sugar shunners and those who eschew wheat/grains, etc. etc.

6
32f5749fa6cf7adbeb0b0b031ba82b46

(41747)

on January 25, 2012
at 12:16 PM

I just have to wonder, did you go out and try to evangelize about paleo? Trying to convert folks to paleo is about as safe as converting them to a different religion or politics. Not a good idea!

6
9f54852ea376e8e416356f547611e052

(2957)

on January 25, 2012
at 09:54 AM

Live and let live. In other words, ignore it and don't give unsolicited advice.

5
B9637ddb9a9a5c6a7306e3c804fcd21d

(3217)

on January 25, 2012
at 03:40 PM

First, I really feel for you, since I recently left high school, and though I wasn't paleo, I've always been different in many ways and have had a hard time fitting in. I think you'll have to just wait - school is a nasty environment, especially for people who are different. At school, people stare, poke and laugh; its easy to understand, since everyone has to go to school, while most college students make the conscious decision (I'm talking about emotional maturity here, not dietary habits) to go to higher education, so the level of potential abuse is lower - you simply have a wider pool of people to deal with in a school.

What you have to tell yourself is that the people who ridicule you now are of no consequence to you. It takes a long time to find good, real friends, to find company that suits you, people you would want to spend time with rather than just doing it to 'fit in'. Although this might sound cliche, you really need to ignore snide comments and remember that a lot of these people actually, deep down, envy your self-discipline.

Why do you think a lot of people take it so close to heart when you refuse cake or a similar non-food? Because deep inside, they are jealous of your ability to turn it down; you eating it would make them feel better, feel like less of a failure.

Now as far as conventional wisdom brainwashing, I agree that its infinitely annoying. I deal with pangs of misanthropy on a daily basis; it annoys me to no end when i hear people at the gym discussing 'healthy' wholemeal cookies, and it similarly drives me up the wall to see people mindlessly shoving cake in their faces and then complaining of weight gain and health issues. It also irritates me when people look me up and down if I ask for full cream in my coffee. One of the 'negatives' discovering this lifestyle has had for me is that I have noticed that I've become rather arrogant around people who allow themselves to be brainwashed, and people who have no willpower. There, I've admitted it, go ahead and hate me, but we all have negative aspects to our characters, and I'm no saint. I'm still working on the arrogance issue, because misanthropic feelings cause stress.

It really helps to focus on yourself, and those close to you. I know it sounds egoistic, but this really has more to do with self-preservation; go to great lengths to get your family to be healthy, and look after YOUR body the best you can; after all, you only have one you, and you want it to last and thrive. You can't save the world, and other people will make their own choices, and pay for them.

Hold on!

Best of luck!

Milla

4
Fe33d1321dad116f6fedd60266d0498b

on January 27, 2012
at 05:24 AM

High school sucks. You're in a social crucible; everyone's trying on new things, new personalities, new foods. Everyone's a dick to at least one other person, even if it's unintentional, even if they're the nicest person in the world. The quickest way to wear yourself out is to try and effect immediate (relatively speaking), permanent change in ANY habits of your fellow inmates, let alone the ones that are reinforced differently (a million and a half different ways, even) the second you stop speaking.

Relax a bit. Their health is not the sole responsibility of you and you alone.

Look at the research methods that brought you to paleo. Look at the reasoning skills that brought you to your conclusions about food. Are they being taught to your cohort? If not- question your teachers. I believe I read above that you're in a private school; if you apply your research skills to other topics you may well have some traction with the teachers, and be able to suggest "golly gosh gee, I see my classmates making terrible choices" (feel free to leave the subject of their choices unspecified, the teachers will fill in whatever blanks they feel necessary), "what can be done in the classroom to help them? I see that we have a [project/assignment/whatever] coming up- maybe you, in all your teacherly glory, can maybe hit the 'this is how you research, not just regurgitate advertisements' topic kinda hard this time?"

If your classmates actually do well with research, consider that they may have different priorities at this time. Paying attention to food is kind of like long-term financial planning: not many people your age pay much attention to it; there's a shit-ton of terrible and conflicting advice out there if and when you do; and if/when you do, it's likely because of a "wake-up call" of some sort.

If you're worried about your classmates' health, help ensure they have good research skills. If you're worried about some dumbasses calling you names in the cafeteria, remember these phrases/actions: "meh, it's all going to kill us anyway," "tastes better than the shit you're eating," "meh, fuck you too. how about that research project My Pet Teacher has us working on? can you believe it? there goes six months of my fucking life, i'll be living in the library. JSTOR will be my best friend, closer to me than my own right hand."

4
03fa485bfd54734522755f47a5e6597e

(3944)

on January 25, 2012
at 01:50 PM

Misanthropy sounds like a perfectly reasonable reaction to your surroundings. Just don't let it become permanent. Your current torment is temporary, and if it helps to think about how those cute girls with the brownies and diet soda will be desperately fighting the bulge in ten years and have no idea what brought it on....well, you do what it takes to get through the day. Someday you'll escape the twisted lab experiment known as the American high school and find that life in the real world is much more sane; and real people, though they may be annoying at times, are mostly okay to deal with. It gets better, really.

Here's a quote from an article that every high school kid smart enough to use a Latin pseudonym should read in full:

"Officially the purpose of schools is to teach kids. In fact their primary purpose is to keep kids locked up in one place for a big chunk of the day so adults can get things done. And I have no problem with this: in a specialized industrial society, it would be a disaster to have kids running around loose.

"What bothers me is not that the kids are kept in prisons, but that (a) they aren't told about it, and (b) the prisons are run mostly by the inmates. Kids are sent off to spend six years memorizing meaningless facts in a world ruled by a caste of giants who run after an oblong brown ball, as if this were the most natural thing in the world. And if they balk at this surreal cocktail, they're called misfits." -- Paul Graham http://paulgraham.com/nerds.html

E7a462d6e99fec7e8f0ddda11b34a770

(1638)

on January 25, 2012
at 06:34 PM

Best thing I've read all day. Let's hear it for all the misfits out there!

Cf4576cbcc44fc7f2294135609bce9e5

(3125)

on January 25, 2012
at 09:02 PM

i bet school teachers really get pissed hearing they are just baby sitters. they are always demanding to be paid more than you.

4
6120c989fd5b69f42a0834b69b87955b

(24553)

on January 25, 2012
at 05:57 AM

Honestly, get your GED tomorrow, and apply to college, or see if you can take classes at your local community college for High School credit, you'll have a lot more fun arguing with people who have just discovered vegetarian and veganism.

I found high school in general brought on constant waves misanthropy. Sorry, I know it sucks, but it doesn't last forever. If you do decide to stick it out, hunker down, kill time with your nose in books that interest you if you are feeling incarcerated (I found that they could only discipline me so much if I was reading something "intellectually stimulating" during those senior requirement classes if I had already completed my worksheets). Self medicate with some valerian, catnip, and skullcap tea if needed, and know that freedom from being caged with idiots isn't far off.

It also helps to be "closet paleo" whether in high school or not so as not to have to engage with all that helpful advice. Most of your peers are just parrots for the CW baloney from what their parents have gleaned form Dr. Oz and the USDA anyway. Watch the movie Fat Head if you want some good one-liner retorts.

In my opinion diet like religion and politics shouldn't be the topic of polite conversation. Work on seeking out the shared humanity with those around you and anyone can be your pal. Once you become good friends with those who share different values (diet or otherwise) you can help rekindle the art of polite intellectual debate which seems to mostly lacking in modern society.

On a personal evolution front High School is a time of tribal allegiances drawn along lines of social strata and pop culture identity (and at an age of emulation, rather than cultural creation that is appropriate), but I really wish I had figured out then what finally occurred to me in my late 20's: You are not what you like, or in other words, your likes and dislikes don't actually define who you are way down deep. As people, we are more alike than we are different. I now regret having turned down a number of social opportunities back then because someone else didn't live up to my "high standards of taste" in regards to music, art, or lifestyle.

5e36f73c3f95eb4ea13a009f4936449f

(8280)

on January 25, 2012
at 07:33 PM

Not really. All it takes is money.

Bdf98e5a57befa6f0877f978ba09871c

on January 25, 2012
at 09:01 PM

I got so damn bored in school I did the hardest track available. At least that way my opinions were met with intelligent responses. I learned a lot more too. It may not be a good cure for misanthropy, but it goes a long way.

6120c989fd5b69f42a0834b69b87955b

(24553)

on January 25, 2012
at 07:52 PM

I think it depends on the "when" and the "how" you take your GED. If you are a freshman or sophomore who needs a more stimulating environment and are taking it so as to apply to community or state college early and are pursuing extracurricular education opportunities I don't think it would hold you back. If you took it long after or around normal graduation time it would probably not look as good. I didn't go the GED route myself, but I did do an exchange program just to get out of there for half a year, and then did a condensed course load senior year to graduate 2 quarters early.

9f54852ea376e8e416356f547611e052

(2957)

on January 25, 2012
at 09:57 AM

I'm no expert on US high schools, but I believe it is MUCH harder to get to ANY college with a GED than "proper" HS certificate.

F1b39d4f620876330312f4925bd51900

(4090)

on January 25, 2012
at 08:59 PM

There are other options to a GED. Ask your school adviser about accelerated graduation options. I did some work at home packet classes out of a local community college that counted towards graduating early.

6120c989fd5b69f42a0834b69b87955b

(24553)

on January 26, 2012
at 04:02 AM

I hear you Evelyn, sticking it out will make things easier as far as paperwork/college choice, and a GED could be a gamble, but there are options that look good to colleges as long as you test well on entrance exams like traveling, unschooling, mentoring, volunteering, etc. It is perfectly normal to take community college classes for HS credit Junior and Senior year for at least part of the day (which could be strategically scheduled around lunch and save some money later not having to take 101 classes). Socially, I found that life just got to be a lot more bearable when I got to college.

24df4e0d0e7ce98963d4641fae1a60e5

on January 25, 2012
at 10:38 PM

I down voted this answer, not to be nasty or anything, but because I think it is bad advice for the most part. First, a GED vs. a diploma is different so the diploma would be better. But going from high school peer groups to the varied student body at a community college, or to an older student body at a 4 year school is going to be far more challenging. There's lessons to be learned and character to be built learning to cope with unpleasant and uncomfortable situations. Seek out others with similar interests. You can't possibly be alone.

3
96440612cf0fcf366bf5ad8f776fca84

(19473)

on January 25, 2012
at 08:59 PM

Don't worry about it, most of those kids will wind up either in adult diapers, wheelchairs, or dead of diabetes, cancer, or heart disease when they're old. You probably will die a quick death at the ripe age of 103, after many years of dragging your Jeep with a rope, wrestling bears with one hand tied behind your back, and winning, and generally being a badass.

School is usually full of wise-ass conformists who think they know better. I'd say don't bother explaining, but then again the 1 or 2 kids that might actually be convinced would be better off if you do, so if they appear to be genuinely interested, and aren't just out to make fun, share the knowledge.

High school politics are pretty insane, but once you're out, you don't have to worry about it anymore. College will be a place where magically, all those same self styled scientists tend to grow up and be more reasonable.

If you're worried about the image of the bunch of veggies, by all means, devour a whole rack of ribs in front of them, or a pile of bacon, or whatever, but you know what, why prove anything to closed minded dorks? Let them wallow in their self-chosen misery.

In the real world, you have a bunch of rich, mostly white, mostly men, who win popularity contests and take money from lobbyists to write down whatever stuff that paid them to write into laws, and the rest of us are supposed to follow whatever they wrote down. Sadly, unlike high school, you can't graduate to escape their corrupt stupidity, but that's another issue for another time.

3
5e36f73c3f95eb4ea13a009f4936449f

(8280)

on January 25, 2012
at 07:51 PM

It's been a while for me, but I don't recall the kids at my high school being like that. Maybe because it was a private school? I don't know. They had other obnoxious issues of couse. But it strikes me that you need to learn to chill out a bit more. The thing I always remembered is that the kids would do whatever got a rise out of you, then beat you to death with it. Laugh it off, make non-personal jokes out of it and it tended to go away. Freak out about the evils of not eating paleo, how they're all gonna die eating pizza, etc. and you will never hear the end of it. No one likes prosleytizers, and kids are more likely to be vocal about it than adults.

D3f3b91d1dd9ce60865654faeb2ec809

on January 25, 2012
at 08:41 PM

This is actually a private school, believe it or not. I think I'll take this advice to heart- I've been trying to convince some of my more intelligent friends, foolishly hoping that they'd listen if I presented a rational argument with ample evidence in the form of medical studies. Of course, they didn't.

5e36f73c3f95eb4ea13a009f4936449f

(8280)

on January 25, 2012
at 09:11 PM

They rarely do. There's a saying "Pick your battles". But you only learn how to do that by experience in losing battles. :)

D3f3b91d1dd9ce60865654faeb2ec809

on January 25, 2012
at 08:39 PM

This is actually a private school, believe it or not. I think I'll take this advice to heart- I've been trying to convince some of my more intelligent friends, foolishly thinking that they'd listen to a well-argued rational argument. Of course, they didn't.

3
7bf306ada57db47547e9da39a415edf6

(11214)

on January 25, 2012
at 03:41 PM

Direct a little more anger at the zoo-keepers rather than the poor pudgy zoo animals. School is prison, and prisoners tend to reach for whatever simple pleasures they can to assuage the pain of imprisonment. If they were free, they might sort of meander toward the right sort of behavior. One cannot underestimate the human capacity for stupidity, but we tend to learn from our mistakes, assuming we are free to do so.

3
D07a525f9021f8d72bf6aaa52893c795

(1011)

on January 25, 2012
at 02:16 PM

As my dear dad once told me: "It's no good knocking when there's nobody in".

There's a nice range of responses here - in the end, it's down to you to be sensitive to whether someone is receptive or not. Otherwise, don't waste your time - you will only provoke defensiveness (cognitive dissonance). Be patient with those who display curiosity and ask intelligent questions. Do your homework, so that you can provide factual evidence for your lifestyle.

Recommended reading: "Mistakes were made, but not by ME!"

.... and concluding with a quote:

'The mind is like a parachute, it works best when it is open' (attributed variously to the Dalai Lama, Frank Zappa, inter al.)

3
Ed92809f18ca70e360768b4f2c9c9df6

(356)

on January 25, 2012
at 07:24 AM

It sounds horrible! I'm sorry to hear that you're going through this. If I were you, I'd avoid debating these people, instead asking them to "live and let live" because such altruism is likely wasted. One day they'll see that you were right all along :-)

9f54852ea376e8e416356f547611e052

(2957)

on January 25, 2012
at 09:57 AM

+1, used the same cliche as I did :P

2
518bce04b12cd77741237e1f61075194

(11577)

on May 07, 2012
at 05:58 AM

If you judge, you'll be judged. I went through a militant vegetarian/vegan phase, and believe me, there's nothing worse than being the mightier-than-thou person turning their nose up at their peers in disdain. People can feel it when you are judging them, and it makes them uncomfortable and defensive. You need to relax! You can't fix everything overnight, you can't save all the souls from the low-fat god and bring them to the bright side. It took just chilling the eff out for all the heat to be taken off my plate- as soon as I stopped talking about what I was eating and acting like I was the superior in a room of the inferior, guess what, people stopped noticing what I ate and couldn't care less what was on my plate.

It's not just high school, this situation will not change if your view of it doesn't. It's my grandma's 80th birthday next week and in the midst of organizing a surprise party with all of her friends, the gossip hasn't changed since they were in dorms together. University isn't a magic pill that somehow fixes everyone around you and opens up everyone else's minds- this is about you and your perception. I say own it, that way you can turn it into what you want to be-just lunch time, not a war zone.

78cb3c4f70de5db2adb52b6b9671894b

(5519)

on May 07, 2012
at 06:08 AM

Thank you. I really don't understand people here who act all flabbergasted when they say that they told their co-workers all about paleo and how grains are evil and the cause of their weight problems and diabetes and that they just need to cut it all out, right after said co-worker ate a sandwich. It's all about the approach and not trying to lecture anyone. Good intentions with a "holier than thou"/know-it-all attitude rubs people the wrong way.

2
361bc16cfdad25411a6f93e10c45aadc

on January 25, 2012
at 09:32 PM

If you fret about how fat or dumb the people around you are you will never reach your own full potential. Go find the people who don't care what you eat and learn something about them. The "it gets better" advice is only applicable if you change yourself or your surroundings. I know lot's of people who's lives didn't get any better after high school because they still cared about those things.

Make the most of high school. It can be a blast or not, it's up to you!

6120c989fd5b69f42a0834b69b87955b

(24553)

on January 25, 2012
at 10:02 PM

Well said, I'm guessing you were infinitely more pleasant to be around that I was in HS.

2
Bdf98e5a57befa6f0877f978ba09871c

on January 25, 2012
at 09:10 PM

Having had similar experiences in high school (see my comment above), I can only offer two things in addition to what has already been said.

First, find an outlet. For me, it was theatre. The people weren't always who I wanted to surround myself with, but it did offer me a place where my quirks and choices were tolerated, and my explorations of how I wanted to live my life were done in part through the roles I took on in shows.

Second, read. For me, stuggling with my own misanthropy in high school and college, some of the best cures were the reading of certain books. Of note for me at different points in the process were:

  • Self-Reliance, Ralph Waldo Emerson
  • As A Man Thinketh, James Allien
  • Anthem, Ayn Rand
  • Leaves of Grass, Walt Whitman
  • A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man, James Joyce
  • Thus Spoke Zarathustra, Friedrich Nietzsche

I don't know if reading such things is something that interests you, but it worked for me. The first three are short and available online.

Hope this helps, and good luck.

6120c989fd5b69f42a0834b69b87955b

(24553)

on January 25, 2012
at 10:01 PM

Upvoted, but with one condition, if I was struggling with misanthropic impulses I think Ayn Rand would push me right over the edge. I don't know if it is still in print, but I would add "The Teenage Liberation Handbook" to this list.

Bdf98e5a57befa6f0877f978ba09871c

on January 25, 2012
at 10:05 PM

I added it because it helped me to assert my own selfhood within many a clamors to be part of a group. But understood.

2
Medium avatar

on January 25, 2012
at 05:25 PM

The road you seek begins when you cease to place yourself at the effect of other people's words and actions. For me the model is Nelson Mandela. In all the years of prison, he was never not a free man. Never was heard, a discouraging word, and his focal point, go figure, was neither bacon nor coconut oil.

2
D117467bf8e8472464ece2b81509606c

(2873)

on January 25, 2012
at 07:20 AM

Oh god. How many years do you have left? It gets better once you're out, believe me. But I hope you're eating more than just bowls of veggies! And I'm not big on poems but this one has always given me the strength to press on when my surroundings are less than ideal:

"When the pawn hits the conflicts he thinks like a king, what he knows throws the blows when he goes to fight. and he'll win the whole thing 'fore he enters the ring, there's no body to batter when your mind is your might. When you go solo you hold your own hand, and remember that depth is the greatest of heights. and if you know where you stand, than you know where to land and if you fall it won't matter cuz you'll know that you're right."

Go with yourself!

96440612cf0fcf366bf5ad8f776fca84

(19473)

on January 25, 2012
at 08:52 PM

Where's that quote from? Pretty good stuff.

6120c989fd5b69f42a0834b69b87955b

(24553)

on January 25, 2012
at 08:26 PM

If the veggies are drawing the scorn, you could just butch it up a bit and gnaw on big turkey drumsticks cooked chunks of meat at lunch.

D117467bf8e8472464ece2b81509606c

(2873)

on January 26, 2012
at 01:55 AM

It's the title of Fiona Apple's second album. I really like her writing. Fun fact: it held the record for the longest album title ever!

0
D7cc4049bef85d1979efbd853dc07c8e

(4029)

on January 25, 2012
at 05:53 AM

Read up on the history of agriculture (or just go for Against the Grain by Richard Manning), your misanthropy will come into full bloom! ;)

-1
Cf4576cbcc44fc7f2294135609bce9e5

on January 25, 2012
at 08:56 PM

I just read that the obesity rate is seventy percent. You shouldn't have to wait very long, perhaps ten years, and that rate will be eighty percent. You will be one of the skinny, maybe then you will get the respect.

96440612cf0fcf366bf5ad8f776fca84

(19473)

on January 27, 2012
at 10:55 AM

@hacker, happy now?

2ab6415f5f20b8fe1d34a94c7be85e6a

on January 27, 2012
at 06:14 AM

Obesity rate is way lower than that. Wait not weight. Maybe not Maby.

6120c989fd5b69f42a0834b69b87955b

(24553)

on January 27, 2012
at 11:00 AM

I'm liking your style here raydawg. I'm pretty sure that is why the edit function is open to all. If we take care of each others typos instead of just bitching about them it elevates the message of the entire community.

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