Skip and Loafer, a coming-of-age anime that slightly resembles Kimi ni Todoke, tells the story of a country girl named Mitsumi who moves into the city for her high schooling. There, she discovers places and social setbacks that are more or less new to her – eliciting a cringe feeling from the viewers as they have probably remembered the first time they experienced similar setbacks that Mitsumi and the other characters are experiencing.
Sometimes, no matter how often we repeatedly experience these awkward setbacks, we still fall in the least positive ways when dealing with them. Fortunately, we have countless tips online on approaching these social challenges properly, and experts in the field have written many of them. So, if you haven’t read any of them yet, you are lucky to be here. The tips from various social issues are summarized here, together with the main characters’ encounters with those problems.
Loathed your advice
In the moment of silence with Shima, Mitsumi must have thought that receiving an adverse reaction from someone after giving them good-natured advice is the most awkward experience a person would ever experience. “Maybe to you they are,” is what Shima said to Mitsumi when the latter lectured the former about the importance of education. Later that day, Mitsumi realized that she had tasted her own medicine as she told the same quoted line to Shima back on their first day in high school.
Their experience is a clear reminder that invalidating someone’s feelings can push people’s buttons. So what would be the proper thing to do in that kind of situation? One of Psych Central’s advice when dealing with angry people is to refrain from taking their anger personally. According to Verywell, practicing emotional resilience is the key to achieving Psych Central’s advice.
Someone snubbed you
Will you think that an extroverted person doesn’t like you if they do not look you in the eye as they say, in a neutral voice, “Hmm… Nice to meet you.” If you said yes, you are not alone because Mitsumi has thought the same. That experience definitely validates what people say, “Not everyone will like you.” Since we can’t control people’s hearts, we might as well do the advice of rejection researchers when dealing with dislike, and that is to “seek out healthy, positive connections with friends and family.” (source: American Psychological Association’s The Pain of Social Rejection)
People calling you names
Mitsumi definitely knows Psychology Today’s first tip “How to Get Over It When People Call You Names,” which is to Pick your battles, especially when she continues with her goal of obtaining friends despite being called the barfing girl on her first day in high school.
Mitsumi’s back-to-back embarrassing moments prove that public mishaps are one of life’s uncontrollable things. Luckily, there are ways to deal with the negative feelings caused by uncontrollable public mishaps. Of course, some typical ways are taking a deep breath and providing self-compassion (source: hbr’s how to move past an embarrassing moment at work.)
According to WebMD, “Manipulation can happen in many forms. In fact, acting kind can be a form of manipulation, depending on the intent.” Sadly, our female protagonist experienced manipulation on her second day of class. It’s when Mika tells Mitsumi not to positively overthink what Shima is doing because the male protagonist is acting kind to all the girls. The simple way to deal with that situation, as shared by Webmd, is to find a reliable person and inquire about the circumstances that one is experiencing.
It’s not an irrational thought that Mika was subtly bullying Mitsumi during their karaoke bonding, as Yuzuki and Shima noticed it, too. In fact, Mitsumi wouldn’t have realized that she was being bullied if it wasn’t for Yuzuki. As for Shima, he slightly reprimanded Mika for being too tense.
While directly telling the person to stop being mean is probably the typical and efficient way of escaping the torturous experience of bullying, unassertive people may find it difficult to utter those words. But maybe these phrases: “That’s interesting, tell me more,” “That’s interesting, what made you do that?” “That’s interesting, what made you say that?” and “That’s interesting, what made you ask that?” are much easier for them to say. According to Shadé Zahrai, a career performance strategist, telling those phrases may prevent you from expressing a negative response that might make you feel guilty afterward (source: Shadé Zahrai’s How to deal with difficult people – 4 Magic Phrases to respond to almost any insult.)
Receiving constructive criticism
After being told to be more relaxed, Mika did not hide her embarrassment as soon as Shima walked ahead of her. How do we accept constructive criticism without losing our self-esteem? According to Feedback Coach Shanita Williams, people must approach feedback like a strainer, taking only what’s important and letting go of those that are not necessary, such as people’s motives when they give the feedback, delivery style, tone, and timing. She also said that people can hear the feedback but not always agree (source: Ted.) Mitsumi must have done that when she heard her classmates talking about her behind her back. Instead of getting angry at them, she listened to their complaints and improved her behavior. Luckily, Shima was there to comfort her, which definitely contributed to her protection against resentment.
This can happen to anyone, even the most intelligent and diligent people like Takamine. Although the latter did not have irrational thoughts after losing, knowing how to cope with defeat would be handy. Dr. Boyes, in her Psychology Today article titled “How to Cope with Losing,” said that we tend to create exaggerated thoughts when we are feeling dismayed. The false beliefs, then, increase our negative feelings. Hence, to prevent that, we must be aware of those irrational thoughts and learn that those things we imagine might not be true, and even if there’s a slight possibility that they are true, they can change.
Receiving uncomfortable requests
Mitsumi and Shima have fallen into the same trap of saying yes to something they are uncomfortable doing. For Mitsumi, it’s asking Shima’s reason for not acting anymore, as requested by Kanechika. And for Shima, it is to act in their class play as demanded by his classmates. Those unexpected requests are hard to outrun unless we learn how to say No properly. Enter Dr. Hendriksen from Savvy Psychologist and her three unique tips for saying no. One, compliment the requester after saying no. Two, connect with empathy while saying no, and three, offer an alternative that is really helpful (source: soundcloud)
Doesn’t want to talk about the problem
How frustrating it must be when you want to fix your relationship with your significant person, but it is only possible when they are cooperative in talking about the problem. As much as we probably like to do what Mitsumi did to make Shima open up – that is, straightforwardly telling her vulnerable feelings to Shima, despite the awareness that the latter might only take the honest feelings for granted – it’s easier wished than done. So, if you’re not yet ready to do Mitsumi’s style, then Psychcentral’s advice of “keeping in mind that you are not the reason why they are avoiding you” might temporarily help you while your significant other is not yet ready to talk.
So Shima’s life is not that perfect – outside the school, Ririka (Shima’s childhood friend) kept blaming the former for her ruined career. Empathic confrontation – understanding where the person’s negative behavior is coming from, but letting them know your boundaries is one of the tips that Family therapist Claire Nana shared in Psych Central to deal with people like Ririka. Whether you have been caught by the tricks of the above social issues, it’s not too late to learn how to manage them.