Rules for Living

According to the Fink (who needs to work on them as well):

  1. Look at people when they talk to you.
  2. Always try to greet folks by their name.
  3. Sometimes, you must apologize when it’s not your fault. It’s OK. You won’t die, and most times, truth will out.
  4. Don’t assume your personal story is always greater, or your experience is always better. Let someone tell his tale, and then comment on his¬†experience.
  5. Never start a sentence with “No offense, but…” The listener invariably knows that an offensive comment is next, and then she stops listening in order to concentrate on being offended. Find another way to get your point across.
  6. Embrace periods of solitude. They recharge and refresh.
  7. Write. Keep a journal, even if it’s not daily. Write fun things, like wishes for your children’s future, where you’d like to be in 20 years, or something funny that happened yesterday. Not only will it serve as self-therapy, it will be a priceless legacy you leave for your children and grandchildren. After you’re gone, they will treasure it and cling to it.
  8. To defer is not necessarily a sign of weakness. Don’t ride your opinion pony to the point where you alienate others. Not everyone is dying to hear your take on things.
  9. Do unto others as you’d have them do unto you. I think the Golden Rule has been shortened by some to “Do unto others as they do unto you.” They’re missing the point.
  10. A derivative of #9: Resist the urge to respond in kind to unkindness. Allow yourself a beat to recover from a hurtful statement, then try to respond in the correct manner. You don’t have to be a pin cushion or whipping boy or punching bag for anyone — but shouting matches rarely solve anything.
  11. Be OK with agreeing to disagree, without making it personal. I have seen too many relationships struggle (and sometimes fail altogether) because one or both parties simply would not back down and admit they could have been wrong. Wow.
  12. When you apologize, apologize. No “I justs;” no hanging “buts” allowed.
And there’s the dirty dozen. I definitely need to get to work on some of them. :-) And now I need to get to work, period. Yikes!

14 thoughts on “Rules for Living

  1. Tom Hanks

    Good list!

    I’ve been guilty of not following number 11 on here before. I’m sorry! No “justs” or “buts”.

    This good advice reminds me….you haven’t had an “Ask the Rat” in awhile. How bout it?

    1. Rat Fink Post author

      You know, I thought the same thing the other day when I looked at my category list. “Ask the Rat” is lookin’ a bit thinnish…I will do it again soon!


  2. PKPudlin

    re: #3: My grandma told me it all comes out in the wash. She was right!

    re: #10: Always rise above. Don’t let anyone drag you into their negativity.

    #13: Never try to teach a pig to sing. It wastes your time and annoys the pig. Words to live by.


    1. Rat Fink Post author

      Your Granny knew her Ps and Qs. And I’ve seen #13 before, and really can’t make sense of it. What does it mean to you? Don’t try to change someone who doesn’t want to be changed? Don’t joust at windmills? Don’t take on lost causes?

  3. Meg's Mom

    Amazing list!

    I particularly like…

    #4 – I heard a line in a movie recently that really struck me. It was something like, “We all just want the same thing. Everyone just wants someone to listen to them.” Now isn’t that so incredibly true? That doesn’t say to come back with your own story because you’re too busy thinking about yourself to even really LISTEN to the person who is talking. It says…listen! I’ve tried to do this since and have had the most amazing conversations!

    #7 – Huge kudos on this idea! I’ve kept a variety of journals for years. I’ve had a prayer journal for about 25 years. It has writings about my son’s first day of kindergarten (he’s now 30), years of written prayers for my children, my angst during the loss of loved ones and dark periods in our lives and so many praises of God’s hand at work as well. I also have a journal for each of my grandkids that I write in occasionally and put snapshots/party invitations in. They were started before they were born with comments about how we were told of their upcoming birth and just random comments since. I hope and pray that these are a legacy for my kids. Sometimes I think it’s hard to really say what we think and feel. This is my way of doing that and a format they can hang onto long after I’m gone. There…that’s enough preaching from me!

    1. Rat Fink Post author

      Ah…and THIS is why it’s so important! Awesome on #7. Imagine your grandkids going through the attic, oh, 60 years from now, and finding all these treasures that your kids stored away. It’s an enormous and crucial window to their heritage. Yay for you!

      And totally agree about the cool conversations when you turn off the “me” light. Fun!

  4. RD

    You’ve presented a great list. If all of these were adhered to by everyone, all relationships would be much healthier and communication greatly enhanced.

    Now, back to March Madness for me. Comcast’s service was horrible earlier and really messed up my watching, but they seem to have it corrected. Wisconsin lost by one point, and Michigan State is behind. How about the lady Eagles of AU playing for the national championship!

    1. Rat Fink Post author

      Thanks, RD. Coming from you, that is a high and humbling compliment. And regarding March Madness — how about them Eagle girls?? It’s quite the buzz here in town, as you might imagine. And I read on Facebook last night that “Stevie Wonder would have done a better job watching the clock than Wisconsin did.” Ouch. Big Ten bites it again…


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