Sorry about your high expectations really not getting met, dear
July 22, 2017 7:13 PM   Subscribe

What to do for a perfectionist who's just suffered an embarrassing, public setback?

Someone I care very deeply for has just had a very bad day, featuring a very public professional disappointment. They aren't in town at the moment but will be back soon. How do I show them I love them anyway and everything's going to be okay?

Think, like, if you were Bill Clinton, what would you have done for Hillary on the day after the election? Big hugs and...what else?
posted by potrzebie to Human Relations (10 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
 
I would think a hike in nature. If the other person wanted to talk with you about the issue (or something else), they could, but they could also choose to just focus on the surroundings and the hike.
posted by blueberry at 7:16 PM on July 22, 2017 [4 favorites]


Ask for help with something. Sincerely. If they're not too busy.
posted by amtho at 7:20 PM on July 22, 2017 [5 favorites]


Best answer: If this person is your sexual partner, seriously consider if hot sex might be appreciated. For many, being found desirable can be a balm to wounded soul. (Of course, for others it might feel like a demand on their depleted energy or you might not have that kind of relationship...)
posted by metahawk at 7:28 PM on July 22, 2017 [13 favorites]


Their pride's likely been hurt and they're likely to feel a bit touchy about it all. I'd choose something light-hearted, noncompetitive, and fun to do, but involving. Favorite OTT TV show? Binge it. Haven't seen Guardians of the Galaxy 2 yet? Go watch it, preferably somewhere that lets you drink. Waterpark. That kind of thing. Basically, anything that lets them get out of their own heads for a little while.
posted by praemunire at 7:52 PM on July 22, 2017 [3 favorites]


Ask for help with something. Sincerely. If they're not too busy.

Going to counsel to approach that one carefully. If it is outside their bailiwick or they catch that you are sending them easy pitches, that could really exacerbate the problem.
posted by Samizdata at 8:17 PM on July 22, 2017 [1 favorite]


A genuine and clear sympathetic vibe. Your title is a little snarky and resentful.
posted by gt2 at 8:20 PM on July 22, 2017 [18 favorites]


Things that remind them of the other good parts of life: friends, family, nature, pets, boating, gardening, kids etc. But tactfully, they might want a good cry first. Then friend/ dog time.
posted by fshgrl at 8:47 PM on July 22, 2017


Best answer: Think, like, if you were Bill Clinton, what would you have done for Hillary on the day after the election? Big hugs and...what else?

If they are the type to be flattered by the comparison, advise them to do just what she did: first, go out in lonely nature to wrestle bears in the mountains. then, come back inside to have some bourbon and read some wholesome murder mysteries under a blanket. then, when they're ready for the public eye again, go on twitter and cleverly insult someone terrible in a forum where they can get immediate validation for it. that is the best medicine for a wounded perfectionist but it needs all three parts.
posted by queenofbithynia at 8:51 PM on July 22, 2017 [39 favorites]


If the person in question is a Star Trek fan and you yourself have enough Star Trek fan street cred to pull it off, making an analogy between what they went through and the Kobayashi Maru (an unwinnable scenario, where no action they could have taken would solve the problem) worked for me once in the course of consoling someone from a professional disappointment.
posted by XMLicious at 12:15 AM on July 23, 2017 [3 favorites]


Oh man I've had a few of these. What helped me were people I cared about still showing they loved me no matter what. Whenever I had those kinds of failures I also lost a fair few people I thought were friends, and that was just as devastating as whatever it is I failed in. Having people who were very clear that their love and affection for me was not contingent on me succeeding in that thing was really really helpful, dare I say it necessary. So just being there for me, letting me take the reigns on whether I wanted to process the failure or be distracted by something else or what. Just caring for me.
posted by divabat at 6:01 AM on July 23, 2017 [3 favorites]


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