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Bad Advice for Hobbitses

What to do when you're smaller than everyone around you.

Hannah Sternberg


July 11, 2013 - 4:00 pm
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Every week, in addition to my Wednesday Bad Advice column featuring questions from you, the readers, I’ll be doing a Thursday advice column for fictional characters, celebrities, and anyone else who didn’t ask for it. If you have suggestions for characters or celebrities you’d like me to give Bad Advice to, send them to the email address above!


Dear Bad Advice,

I just joined a venture with an industrious, but quirky, group of people I barely know. They’re all from a very different culture than mine, much more confrontational and crude. On top of that, they even look a little different from me, so I feel like I stick out like a sore thumb. A lot of them don’t like me, even though they asked me to join them for my special skills, and all of them push me around and make fun of me a lot. I’m sick of it and I wish I could just go home and be comfortable again. But a part of me also longs to complete this adventure and prove myself. I just don’t know if I can do it. Help!

- Lagging Baggins

This is going to sound like bad advice, but stop trying to fit in.

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The takeaway: EVERYONE has to prove themselves; stop looking for excuses or appealing for special consideration because you attach the need to prove yourself to the way in which you are different. Those are not "differences" -- they are "distinctiveness". Viewed rightly they are not handicaps but assets to be leveraged in the proving of yourself. You are not there to hide your hobbitishness, but to prove the necessity of a hobbit on this mission, and thereby "prove yourself". Just as a female writer in a male publishing corral most show what special talents and perspectives come by having a woman on board, and thereby "prove herself". I am never as confident of the necessity, and the likelihood, of proving myself, than when everyone present notices there's "something different" about me. It is up to me how that difference is played, but make no mistake: It is a precious advantage. Vive la difference!
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