June’s theme is GETAWAY, per the school year’s end, summer vacation, and all the crazy teens with their paper-throwing and their singing and their jewel-toned-capris-wearing. But before you get all WILD, some Rookie Yearbook business! Thank you x 1,000 to everyone who could make it to a stop on our tour a couple weeks ago. You were so game and enthusiastic and kind!! I can’t wait for more when the fourth book comes out on October 20.
A few updates on that guy: Rookie Yearbook Four will have more goodies that you can’t find on the site than any of the Yearbooks thus far, including stickers and cut-outs of stuff like a teen bedroom diorama and motivational posters written by Willow Smith. There are even more contributions from our all-time heroes, such as: an adolescence survival guide by Rashida Jones; conversations between people like Donna Tartt with Florence Welch, Solange with Ed Droste, and Tracee Ellis Ross with Jamia; illustrated peeks into the closet of Charli XCX and the artistic influences of Dev Hynes and Ezra Koenig; and Friend Crushes between folks like Shamir and Chloe Chaidez and Amandla Stenberg and Kiernan Shipka. DARE I GO ON? There are OODLES MORE, which we’ll announce next month, but I’ll stop there for now. I am thrilled for you to see it. It’s our senior year! We’ll still do stuff in print, but this’ll be our last gigantic Yearbook monster, and I believe it is my favorite.
This month, we’ll mostly be focusing on finding ways to make the best out of summer break through guides like “How to Dress Like a Corny Rich Grandma on a Cruise,” but right now, I’d like to focus on Getaway as in GET AWAY FROM ME, as in: How to Deal With Suppressive Persons.
The Church of Scientology coined the term Suppressive Person to identify challengers of their practice, be they members of the church or concerned friends and family. My pal Sarah and I have found that “SP” is actually an apt descriptor for anyone in life who is trying to suppress you in non-Scientology-related ways, sometimes unintentionally, but always indirectly, like in the form of counter-productive help or backhanded flattery. We have adopted the term for our own use, like, “Today a SP squinted at my outfit for a really long time before saying, ‘You’re so creative!’”
Here are some types of SPs you may be encountering in this cold, cruel world, and how to deal with them. I may sound paranoid/conniving/cynical, but most of these solutions come down to combatting SPs not with suppressive acts of your own, but by being direct or not engaging. I do not endorse playing mind games; I do recommend gracefully distancing oneself from them in the interest of engaging truthfully with non-SPs as we live remarkably brief lives together. Also, aside from the effective pairing of the words “Suppressive” and “Person,” I am not endorsing Scientology! I totally saw Going Clear!
A friend who puts you down all the time
As Hazel articulated last year, a friendship should be a source of support, not insecurity (like the WORLD isn’t enough of a SP in that regard already!). Let us never forget this Amy Poehler adage:
“Only hang around people that are positive and make you feel good. Anybody who doesn’t make you feel good, kick them to the curb. And the earlier you start in your life the better. The minute anybody makes you feel weird and non-included or not supported, you know, either beat it or tell them to beat it.”
When people are very insecure, they may only see others as reflections of themselves, making everything you do somehow a statement on the fact that they have not yet sent in their college applications, or that they were not invited to a party of some sort, et cetera. This is very sad for your SP! But it does not mean that you have to be their punching bag, mirror, et cetera—real friendship is free of pity or obligation, and it doesn’t even help your SP in the long term to be continually enabled to push their friends away. You might feel guilty cutting this person out if you believe they genuinely value your friendship underneath all the vitriol, so perhaps a conversation is better suited than a frank curb-kicking, and a break is all you need until they can see you as a real person. However, a SP who keeps you around solely to shit on you may not deserve any more of your time or energy in the form of an explanation.
A friend who’s being negative about the world/life, but not about you
Some SPs are not S at all, just Ps going through a rough time whom you still love and want in your life. They’re not offending you, but they are unloading a LOT onto you, and while friends let friends vent, friends also have to let each other know when shit gets toxic. If you find the negativity is rubbing off on you, you can say something like, “It makes it harder to navigate my own body issues when you get really critical of other people’s looks,” hoping they’ll cut down on the body-shaming. You can also figure out which topics not to broach with this person—maybe they become gossipy when you mention certain people, or nihilistic when you talk about grades.
A person in your extended social circle who puts you down even though you barely know each other
This can be especially frustrating if it seems no one else in your crew notices because the suppressing takes the form of a backhanded compliment, like, “I love how you’re just like this lone wolf, like you’re all ALONE all the time, it’s just so admirable that you can deal with your perpetual loneliness!!!!” Since you don’t have a relationship to this person and there’s nothing to work out, but you’re also likely to keep running into them, shrug off their comments and kill them with kindness. The high road is a boring Midwestern landscape but pretty hazard-free. If it comes down to it, you want to be able to truthfully say that the SP’s actions were unwarranted and that you did not engage. Then hopefully other people recognize this person as a SP, too, and no one’s outfit will be called “creative” ever again.