Not caring is the new cool. The most situation you will find yourself in, the easiest way to appear cooler is to show that you don’t care about something. It’s not a surprise – It’s a clear sign that you must be above it, too concerned with something else, more important.
If it doesn’t sound cool, I don’t know what does. Right?
On the first sight – yeah. Why should you trouble yourself with unnecessary things? Some guy’s opinion on your clothing choices, aunt’s conviction that you should be married already or that some internet stranger thinks that you should forget about your dreams. Ignoring such opinions probably is the best choice indeed.
At the same time, pretty many people don’t care about more serious things. Not hurting other people, politics, keeping promises, being punctual, sticking to your values or saving the world. It doesn’t seem that nice, productive or in any way positive and they don’t appear that cool not to care about it. Still, many people try to „sell it” and many others are fascinated by people that are not giving a damn about any human decency. Examples? Fascination with psychopathic movie characters – we might not necessarily want to meet them in real life, but on the screen, they seem amazing. Similar to people who don’t seem to be bothered by their objectively bad traits – in the end, they are always late because of who they are as a person or any other witty excuse.
Why we find people that don’t care so cool and fascinating?
- We think it makes people happier – We see those detached individuals and wonder how happy we would be if we didn’t care about another people’s opinion. We sometimes don’t do things that we want, because we worry too much. Life would be so much more beautiful, if some decisions were less stressful for us, in other words, if we cared less.
- We are afraid of being hurt – People that don’t care seem to not be able to get hurt by anyone. They seem emotionally bulletproof. We don’t like to suffer, so such perspective is very tempting.
- We think it’s easier to achieve success this way – It would be so much easier to start a conversation with somebody if you didn’t care about rejection. You would do something risky if you didn’t care about the outcome. We know that those who dare often gets rewarded. We know it could help us, but we are paralyzed. Somebody who doesn’t give a damn would take the chance.
- They seem to have a secret weapon – Not caring can be a sign of confidence. They must believe in what they do or don’t do. Maybe they know something other people don’t know yet? Most of us have doubts about our decisions or beliefs. We don’t get the luxury of knowing things will be alright.
- We think it shows strength and confidence – We know how difficult it is to stop being influenced by some unnecessary thoughts and do something we really, really want. They must have had overcome the fears and go for their goals.
- It’s not common – Most people we know worry about many things. They might state that they don’t care, but their behavior says the opposite. Somebody who truly doesn’t seem to care about something we worry about is at least intriguing. We often wonder how it is possible and want to learn why.
- They seem to be used to experiencing cool/dangerous stuff, because of their exciting life – The case of “Cool Guys Don’t Look Back At The Explosions” and similar. Seems cool indeed, but it might not be pure pragmatism. I’d try to not look as well – purely not to get debris in my eyes. I recommend you the same, especially if it’s a nuclear explosion.
Dark jokes aside, many people that experience a lot of amazing things are excited each and every time and many of those that always look unimpressed have lives that consist mostly of Netflix. It depends on the personality a lot.
Why caring might be a good idea?
- Caring is human – we usually care about our family, friends or success at work. Not because somebody forced us, but because it’s only natural. Acts of humanity are a result of a deep caring about other people. Worrying to some level help us survive.
- Being too detached is leading to being dead inside – Hurt people often want to protect themselves by not caring and detaching themselves. However very often they don’t start caring about other things and there are fewer things that keep them connected to the world or motivated to live a good life. Or do anything at all. Very often it’s not that they truly don’t care about those things – they just refuse to admit it and just hide their feelings.
- Caring can lead to many good emotions and feelings – It’s a bit risky to care because you can get hurt or disappointed, but there is a reward for it. You can get amazing and satisfying human connections, the joy of completing a goal you worked long toward or the feeling of being loved by the person you love. The excitement about doing something we want and care about is a beautiful feeling as well.
- Caring can be inspiring – The most inspiring people cared so much, that they took the problem into their own hands. They had to „not care” about more superficial things like social pressure, difficulties or people being skeptical about the idea, but in the end, the force that drove them was deeply caring about something – helping fellow humans, changing the world or doing something for the people they love.
- Caring can make the world a better place – When we don’t care too much we are not motivated to fight our imperfection, stick to our values or endure difficulties. If nobody would care about anything, humanity would not have invented the whole variety of things. Not caring itself is pretty passive and uncreative.
- Caring can give a purpose – I believe that the easiest way to find our purpose in life is to ask ourselves honestly what we deeply care about. And think what could help us achieve it. Simple, but effective. If we keep remembering that, it’s so much easier to make many decisions in life. We are also less influenced by media and other people that would like us to care about things that are beneficial for them. Not because their cause aligns with ours, but because we don’t know what we want.
- Caring can help us get better – Some level of caring about others opinion can provide us a valuable information about what we are lacking. It would be arrogant to assume that we are perfect or always right. Everybody can teach you something and it’s good to care at least a bit about what others want to say.
- Not caring can get us in troubles – Not caring about others at all won’t let us understand them. We can get into unnecessary conflicts or make ourselves too many enemies. Contrary to the popular belief it’s unlikely they will get convinced or impressed. Not giving a damn about our safety is likely a recipe to get admitted into a hospital. Caring about some things is just smart strategically.
- It can help you achieve success – If you care, it will be easier to motivate yourself to work toward your goals. It will make you more convincing and help you earn allies who want to help your cause.
What should we care about?
I don’t believe in perfect solutions or in „yes/no” kind of answers. The word „care” has a wide meaning and describes a whole spectrum of behaviors. I tried to prepare a set of questions that would be universally helpful to find the sweet spot between caring and not.
- What is most important for you? – It helps in determining what do you really want. The answer is the main goal that helps with making a lot of decisions.
- What kind of person do you want to be? – If you know who you want to be, it’s easier to know what you should care about. There are so many impulses around, that try to convince us to care about bullshit things (Hello advertising industry) or not care about something else (Hello, advertising again). It’s very easy to get lost in this whole mess if you don’t remember who you want to be.
- Why do you care about it? – It’s easy to determinate if it was your choice to care or somebody else sold you this idea. It can also work as a good motivation for sticking to your decisions when in doubts.
- Why don’t you care about something you cared about? – We change and so do our priorities – it’s normal. But some people „don’t care” about something anymore purely because they don’t want to get hurt again. It’s usually not healthy, because they still care, but hide it.
- Is caring (that much) about X beneficial for you? Or at least somebody else? – Humans are auto-destructive sometimes and it might be good to say „enough” now and then.
- Do you care enough? – If you feel a bit dead inside, one of the best ways to get more alive is to start caring about something. Easier said than done, but it doesn’t have to be big. Even when you are alive and well you can realize that it would be better if you to care more about some things like a healthy diet.
- Will it matter in one year? – The best question to ask yourself when you are freaking out. You will most likely not remember about most of the nonsense a month later, so why bother? When you look at things in a wider perspective they often appear less horrible and it’s easier to keep your cool and relax. Done right adds badassery points.
- Is this person informed enough to have a clue? Did they say it in a good faith? – I believe that it’s the best way to determine if you should even think twice about somebody’s opinion. It’s unlikely that it matters what they think if you can’t confidently answer „Yes” to both questions. In another case, they might have a point, but it doesn’t mean they are right.
Those are not all the important questions, but probably the most essential ones. It’s not a topic we are motivated to question – but rather just act on it or not. Getting into reasoning or questions why rarely appear and it’s mostly concentrated on why you should care about something.
It’s surprising because everything we do depends on what we care about now, even if we are not fully conscious. From what we eat (e.g. how much we care about eating healthy or just getting something fast) to choosing a career (e.g. how we care about earning a lot of money or doing something interesting). We can motivate ourselves easier with that knowledge. It’s also easier to not get manipulated by others if we know „WHY?” we care about something. It can also affect our mood.
Not caring might appear cool, but it’s just passive. It can be a manifestation of a fear being hurt or admitting to yourself what you really want, which doesn’t sound that edgy anymore. It can block you from being your authentic self. You might be “the cool one”, but if you don’t add caring about something to the mix, you will end up being an asshole, dead inside or horribly boring. Possibly all of the above. Definitely, it will not inspire anyone or make your life better.
Personally, I’m very happy with my levels of giving a damn. The only exception is politics. I wish I cared less – it’s not saving the world, nor making me happy. It’s definitely something to work on.
And you? What would you like to care less about?