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Stressballs and Sensitivity

By Jamie Rodney

Sorry for the hiatus. I'm going to you guys two distinct but connected stories.

As anyone who knows me will probably have heard me mention, I invested more or less the whole first half of this semester working as Srdja Popovic's campaign manager. Now, I'm not going to talk too much about the campaign per se (#landslide #startarevolution #samwasonwillierenniesteamsoidkwhatkindagroundwe'reon), but instead, something seemingly small that happened to me on the lead-up to it.

During on of my (many) pre-campaign freakouts, I picked up a stress-ball from the Sabbs office, something which I can honestly say has changed my life for the better.

Steve (yes, I named my stress-ball, because why not?) goes everywhere with me now- I'd no more think of leaving the house without him than I would of leaving without my keys. Having him around is amazingly, inexplicably, therapuetic- even when I don't end up having to use him, just the thought that he's in my pocket if I do get stressed is calming enough. (I'm very aware of the image I'm putting across right now of myself, but just go with it.) Steve has made me a better, happier, more relaxed person, and I thank him for it.

Second story (and don't worry, it's just as high-octane as the first one). Just a couple of nights ago, I met one of my friends after a shit, stressful day. I'm not going to get into detail about what happened, but I took it out on her, by being a dick. Now, me behaving like a dick is nothing new or remarkable, but what I noticed was that, for a breif moment after flipping out at my entirely innocent friend, I- very, very temporarily- felt better about myself. (Suddenly the fact I name my stressballs doesn't seem so bad any more, does it?)

Now, these stories are very obviously connected. In relationships, it's very, very easy to treat our friends as stressballs, or even punching bags, outlets for our own anxieties rather than human beings in their own right. It doesn't neccesarily need to be as dramatic as the scenario I described above- you don't have to lash out, after all, to be inconsiderate. How many of us have used our friends to vent to, without thinking of how they might be feeling? How many of us have launched into tirades about our terrible lives without checking if that's the kind of thing they want to hear? There's nothing more irritating than a person with a twisted ankle complaining to you without acknowledging your broken leg.

I'm not saying don't vent to your friends if you're finding things tough, and I know that in the course of a relationship, it's very unlikely that nobody's going to say anything that'll hurt someone else. But be mature, be sensitive, and be aware that you're not the only one in a relationship.

Also remember that stressballs are available from CAPOD and the Union whenever you need them.

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