An Open Letter To The Manipulator

An Open Letter To The Manipulator

I saw right through you, actually.
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Dear friend,

I am addressing you as a "friend", although you most certainly are not because you used to be. You used to be somebody very close to me, who I cared about and trusted, and now you aren't anymore. Good riddance, am I right?

To all who I know personally: this is not aimed as an indirect to any one person specifically in my life. Please avoid personalizing my words and/or believing that this pertains to you because it doesn't.

But I think what you did was no good.

Because this is, exactly, what you did: you took somebody who cared about you, who trusted you and enjoyed spending time with you, who did almost everything for you because you deserved it and because you guys were friends, and that's what friends do, right? And you used that to your advantage; you lied to me, you told me things that you knew would change my opinions of other people, which only really served you, and you used me and my relationships to better your own life. You made me feel important only so I would not leave you behind (although I would not have done that anyway), not because you cared about me but because you just did not want to be alone. You said things that would keep me close to you, either out of guilt or responsibility. And once somebody new came along, I was old news and no longer of any use. Bye!!

You have manipulated me extremely hard, in ways that I am sure are still secret, and it has left its impact on me.

But this is not an angry letter, and I am willing, actually, to move on. I am actually writing to tell you just that - that I have decided not to think about this anymore. You have manipulated me enough; since I can escape you, I will.

Like everybody has advised me, I have finally accepted that I do not need you in my life and it is time to move on. Clearly, I did not matter to you... I just wish that you had talked to me about what was going on and were clear about how you needed me instead of using me and throwing me aside.

I hope that eventually you understand how it is and is not okay to treat people and you move on from this hateful place in your life. I am not on any high horse at all when I say this; truly, I am coming from a place of concern from somebody who has had a lot of memories with you. Eventually, you will meet somebody who has treated you like you have treated me and then you will understand.

I also hope that, in the future, I will have the strength to get out of these relationships sooner. I saw your manipulation happening, yet I hoped it would go away or was a one time thing; I guess I've learned that lesson too. Good people do not deserve to be treated like they are bad.

Good luck with your life, and I wish you introspection and a future filled with plenty of lessons on how it is and is not okay to coexist with others. Start by not lying, or, if you do, continue by not saying hurtful things out of embarrassment.

All the best,

An ex-friend

Cover Image Credit: Social Consciousness

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​An Open Letter To The People Who Don’t Tip Their Servers

This one's for you.
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Dear Person Who Has No Idea How Much The 0 In The “Tip:" Line Matters,

I want to by asking you a simple question: Why?

Is it because you can't afford it? Is it because you are blind to the fact that the tip you leave is how the waiter/waitress serving you is making their living? Is it because you're just lazy and you “don't feel like it"?

Is it because you think that, while taking care of not only your table but at least three to five others, they took too long bringing you that side of ranch dressing? Or is it just because you're unaware that as a server these people make $2.85 an hour plus TIPS?

The average waiter/waitress is only supposed to be paid $2.13 an hour plus tips according to the U.S. Department of Labor.

That then leaves the waiter/waitress with a paycheck with the numbers **$0.00** and the words “Not a real paycheck." stamped on it. Therefore these men and women completely rely on the tips they make during the week to pay their bills.

So, with that being said, I have a few words for those of you who are ignorant enough to leave without leaving a few dollars in the “tip:" line.

Imagine if you go to work, the night starts off slow, then almost like a bomb went off the entire workplace is chaotic and you can't seem to find a minute to stop and breathe, let alone think about what to do next.

Imagine that you are helping a total of six different groups of people at one time, with each group containing two to 10 people.

Imagine that you are working your ass off to make sure that these customers have the best experience possible. Then you cash them out, you hand them a pen and a receipt, say “Thank you so much! It was a pleasure serving you, have a great day!"

Imagine you walk away to attempt to start one of the 17 other things you need to complete, watch as the group you just thanked leaves, and maybe even wave goodbye.

Imagine you are cleaning up the mess that they have so kindly left behind, you look down at the receipt and realize there's a sad face on the tip line of a $24.83 bill.

Imagine how devastated you feel knowing that you helped these people as much as you could just to have them throw water on the fire you need to complete the night.

Now, realize that whenever you decide not to tip your waitress, this is nine out of 10 times what they go through. I cannot stress enough how important it is for people to realize that this is someone's profession — whether they are a college student, a single mother working their second job of the day, a new dad who needs to pay off the loan he needed to take out to get a safer car for his child, your friend, your mom, your dad, your sister, your brother, you.

If you cannot afford to tip, do not come out to eat. If you cannot afford the three alcoholic drinks you gulped down, plus your food and a tip do not come out to eat.

If you cannot afford the $10 wings that become half-off on Tuesdays plus that water you asked for, do not come out to eat.

If you cannot see that the person in front of you is working their best to accommodate you, while trying to do the same for the other five tables around you, do not come out to eat. If you cannot realize that the man or woman in front of you is a real person, with their own personal lives and problems and that maybe these problems have led them to be the reason they are standing in front of you, then do not come out to eat.

As a server myself, it kills me to see the people around me being deprived of the money that they were supposed to earn. It kills me to see the three dollars you left on a $40 bill. It kills me that you cannot stand to put yourself in our shoes — as if you're better than us. I wonder if you realize that you single-handedly ruined part of our nights.

I wonder if maybe one day you will be in our shoes, and I hope to God no one treats you how you have treated us. But if they do, then maybe you'll realize how we felt when you left no tip after we gave you our time.

Cover Image Credit: Hailea Shallock

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Dear Freshman Year Roommate, Thank You For Being Someone I Always Looked Forward To Hanging Out With

From the first moment we met and bonded over our love for bubble tea, I knew our friendship was going to be special.

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When I was applying for college, I was concerned with supplemental essays, SAT scores, scholarship applications and letters of recommendation. I never took a moment to stop and wonder "What happens once I get in?"

Finally, the fateful day arrived where I made my college decision. I bought a sweatshirt from the George Washington University store. My mom decorated my High School locker with our colors. And most importantly, I sighed a breath of relief imagining how refreshing it was going to be to ride out the rest of my senior year without the stress of college deadlines weighing on my shoulders.

Unfortunately, that blissful serenity was cut short when I joined a Facebook group of admitted students, where profiles of smiling teenagers flashed on my screen accompanied with the fateful "I'm looking for a roommate."

A roommate. I obviously knew that I needed a roommate. It was common sense, yet for some reason, I had failed to consider the logistics of finding a roommate until that moment.

See, my mom helped me through my college process, but times were different back then. She described showing up to her college on the first day, not knowing who she had been randomly assigned. There was no Facebook, Snapchat or Instagram to help you communicate with the girls on the other side of the country-- or sometimes even on the other side of the world.

This was a new, unexplored territory where my mother's wealth of knowledge sadly fell short.

Lucky for me, I was accepted into an honors program which restricted the list of girls available to be my roommate to a list of about twenty-five. We created a google document which asked basic questions like "Are you a night owl or earlier riser?"

Even still, I had no idea how to pick someone who I would be compatible to live with for the next year of my life. The stakes felt high, but I was reassured by the fact that I grew up sharing a room with my siblings, learning some important skills about being low-maintenance and tolerant of others' habits.

I read through the list and found someone whose answers sounded similar to mine, figuring we had enough in common to be amicable, if nothing more, throughout the school year. Her name was Riya, and she had a cute Instagram, so I messaged her asking if she wanted to try and room together. She agreed and we put each other down as roommates when applying for housing.

Looking back, that decision was the best one that I made when preparing for GW.

Throughout my freshman year, I have heard horror stories about roommates who fight all the time, steal each other's clothes, refuse to clean or try and micromanage the other's sleep schedule.

All the while, I count my lucky stars that my roommate is not only sane but someone who I genuinely look forward to spending time with. We share ice cream and inside jokes. When the weather was heating up and the university refused to turn on the air conditioning, we even shared our fans.

It comforts me to know that at the end of even the worst days, I can come back to my room and laugh or cry (sometimes both) with her by my side.

I remember once, I was having trouble with another group of friends. I felt alone and isolated. I felt like there was nobody who I could talk to apart from my mom or my best friend from home, who are both supportive and incredible but don't know any of the characters in my life in the same way as someone here at school.

I have a bad habit of struggling to reach out to people when I'm going through something, figuring I am strong enough to handle it on my own.

While that may sometimes be true, thanks to Riya, I didn't have to. I ended up telling her everything. She listened to me rant, understanding how I was hurt, and advising me on the situation.

I felt so much better after our conversation, and the best part was, I didn't have to leave the comfort of my bed for the entire conversation.

Her friendship reminded me of my family, and honestly, she has acted like a sister to me over the past two semesters.

It is so wild reflecting on the year, knowing that next semester we will be going our separate ways, living with respective friends in buildings a couple of blocks away from each other.

However, even when the posters are off the walls and signs reading "Riya" and "Emilie Joe" no longer stick to the outside of our door, I know that the bond we created in room 217 will never leave us.

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