A List of Societal Critiques That Can Kindly GTFO


Humans. There are billions of us on this here planet, and while we’re different in many ways, there are common threads that run through us all, no matter the culture or part of the world in which we live. We all have beating hearts, for one. We’re all just vessels of pure emotion and opinions, for another. And we all live in communities that place a hell of a lot of pressure on folks to live life according to certain societal norms.

I understand that this is human nature. I understand that we try to make sense of the world, and other people, by comparing ourselves to them. I understand that sometimes this comes out in the form of undue critiques or expectations. I get it, I know it, I empathize with it. I swear.

But hearing these critiques? Taking them in from our family and friends and, oftentimes, from people we don’t even know? It’s exhausting. It can make us feel like crap about ourselves and our lives. It’s not even necessary.

This month we’ve been focusing on the theme of living life exactly as we please. We’ve aimed to accept the things that make us different and, at the risk of sounding cliché, to celebrate the heck out of them. And if celebrating our differences, as well as the varying paths we all take in life is what we’re aiming to do? Societal critiques + expectations? Outdated, tired, subjective as heck societal norms? They can go out the window, too.

We’re a competitive breed, we humans. We’re a comparative breed. It can be hard for us to interact with other people and not project our own shit onto them. But let’s just, I don’t know, collectively try not to do it. Can we at least try? If you’re connected enough to the way you exist in the world, you can physically feel it when a slightly judgemental thing you’re about to utter is more a reflection of your own ingrained insecurities than those of the person you’re speaking to.    

For all the well-intentioned family members; for all the well-meaning friends; for all the eavesdropping strangers on sidewalks and in bars and who truly pop up out of nowhere, fully unsolicited; for us, too: a list of societal critiques that can kindly get the f*ck out:

  • You’re too invested in your job.
  • You’re not passionate enough about your job.
  • Your job isn’t cool/fun/interesting/prestigious/aspirational enough.
  • You’re too anxious.
  • You’re too laid back.
  • You’re too young to settle down.
  • You’re too old to be single.
  • You don’t make enough money. 
  • You make too much money. 
  • You and your partner have been dating for a while; why aren’t you married yet?
  • You and your partner hardly know each other; what’s the rush to get married so quickly?
  • You spend too much time/money/energy on your hygiene + beauty routines.
  • You don’t spend enough time/energy/money on your hygiene + beauty routines.
  • You’ve had sex with too many people.
  • You’ve had sex with too few people.
  • You spend too much time on/share too much of yourself/are too vulnerable on social media.
  • You don’t share enough of yourself/aren’t authentic enough on social media.
  • Your engagement is too long.
  • Your engagement is too short.
  • You don’t spend enough time working.
  • You spend too much time working.
  • You’re boring in bed.
  • You’re too kinky in bed.
  • You weigh too much.
  • You weigh too little.
  • You’re far too busy; why don’t you make more time to relax?
  • You seem to have a lot of free time; you must not be very important/popular, huh?
  • You’re too young to have kids.
  • You’re too old to have kids.
  • As a parent, you spend too much time with your kids or not enough time with your kids or you worry too much about feeding them all-organic-food-all-the-time or you don’t worry enough about what you’re feeding them and, as a result, are a bad parent. (Writer’s note: I am not a parent myself but oh my god the amount that people judge parents!!)

As per the list above, do you see that you can’t really do anything exactly “right”? Try though any of us might, we can’t live life exactly by the status quo, because guess what, folks—the status quo is different based on who we’re talking to and what day it is and what kind of mood the person facing us is in.

We all have our own internal compasses, guiding us through these windy paths we’re on. As long as you’re not actively hurting or offending anyone else, chances are you’re doing just fine. Anyone who judges you for the way you’re living your life? They’re just projecting their own insecurities onto you. That’s all it is. That’s all any of these societal critiques and expectations are.

None of us are ever going to fulfill the subjective expectations this world seems to want to place on us. We shouldn’t, anyway. Imagine if we all did? How utterly boring this existence of ours would be.  

If someone’s critiquing you for being single? It’s because they’re scared beyond belief of being alone themselves. If someone judges you for the job you have? For getting married too quickly? For how much sex you have or don’t have? That’s alllll their own insecurities, being passed over to you.

We’re all doing our best to live these lives of ours. None of us are ever going to fulfill the subjective expectations this world seems to want to place on us. We shouldn’t, anyway. Imagine if we all did? How utterly boring this existence of ours would be.  

Do you have any additions to this surely incomplete list? If so, please, please, please share them in the comments. I’d love to hear any and all of ’em.

BY Jackie Saffert - May 24, 2019

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add a comment

  1. Emma

    May 24th, 2019 at 12:04 pm

    After my husband and I got married, the narrative IMMEDIATELY switched to “when are you having kids?” It happened so often for a while that I was tempted to answer “when you give me kid-raising money if you care so much.” It’s died down now, but it just struck me how quickly it was like “okay you did this one milestone, now please immediately do another.”

  2. A List of Societal Critiques That Can Kindly GTFO – Business Blog

    May 24th, 2019 at 1:29 pm

    […] Continue reading A List of Societal Critiques That Can Kindly GTFO at Wit & Delight | Designing … […]

  3. Jessy

    May 24th, 2019 at 4:18 pm

    Also the whole “you’re too cold” or “you’re too hot”… pisses me off hahah I am however I wanna be hahaha


    xoxo <3

  4. Mykki

    May 27th, 2019 at 10:10 am

    “You’re not friendly enough.”
    “You’re too introverted, open up more.”
    “You need to get out more often.”
    “Aren’t you planning to have kids?”
    “It’s weird to want to live alone.”

    These are ones I’ve heard in the past year. Cheers!

  5. Jackie Saffert

    May 27th, 2019 at 9:51 pm

    Emma —YES. I’m not married, but I’ve heard from multiple friends of mine that the same question was asked of them *immediately* after they tied the knot. Would be lovely if folks could keep their very personal, intrusive questions to themselves.

  6. Jackie Saffert

    May 27th, 2019 at 9:53 pm

    Jessy—EXACTLY. I feel the same way.

  7. Jackie Saffert

    May 27th, 2019 at 9:56 pm

    Mykki—I’ve heard a few of those myself in the not-too-distant past. And you know what? I think we’re both doing fine just as we are.

  8. Alana

    May 31st, 2019 at 9:20 am

    “Your nails are too short” @ the nail salon by the person doing my nails. I will deduct from their tip every time. It’s so judgmental and I can’t stand it.

  9. Rachel

    May 31st, 2019 at 12:42 pm

    Yes yes and yes. Perfection.

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