OTF: DIY & Dunning-Kruger

Other Things Friday is our blandly named series for non-how-to content that we publish on Fridays. You probably figured that out from the name.

Most people might think that I support the DIY movement, perhaps because answering “Hey, where’d you get that?” with “I made it myself!” seems impressive.

Before I address that misconception, let me tell you about something called the Dunning-Kruger effect. For those of you who have never heard of this psychological phenomenon before, the gist of it is this: highly skilled people think they are less skilled than they actually are, and unskilled people delusionally think they are exceptionally badass. This is because highly skilled people assume that tasks that are easy for them must be easy for others, and because unskilled people have no context for how to gauge their own abilities, since they are unskilled. They are also unable to recognize high levels of skill in others. Basically, they don’t know stuff and are dumb.

How does this apply to DIY? My opinion is this: don’t DIY unless you think you suck at something. If you think you’re really good at something, unless you’re some sort of prodigy or master craftsman, you’re probably kind of bad at it. And the best way to totally kill your impressiveness game is to think you’re better at something than you actually are. Honesty moment: I see a lot of stuff on Pinterest that makes me insanely judgmental.

Now, I’ll caveat all of that with this: depending on who you hang out with, maybe none of your friends will actually recognize your inaptitude either. Theoretically, you might be in the clear even if you suck. And on the flip side, if you took Angelo’s advice to pick up a new hobby and have become somewhat competent, then yes. It is impressive to say “Oh gosh golly no, it’s not Gucci - I made this dress myself!” or “Do you like my new dog statue? I made him in my Advanced Sculpture adult learning class. His name is Pat!”

I don’t ONLY watch singing shows. (   img src   )

I don’t ONLY watch singing shows. (img src)

On a scale of 1-10, how flamingly insecure have I made you through this post? Let us know! Comments and emails to info@howtoseemimpressive.com both work.

OTF: Having impressive friends

Other Things Friday is our blandly named series for non-how-to content that we publish on Fridays. You probably figured that out from the name.

I think we all have at least one friend that people find impressive. You might have a ton. I do. One of them is Chris. Maybe you are that impressive friend. This blog basically exists to make you that friend, but Other Things Fridays is for other things, so this post is about what I've learned while being around impressive people. It's like really bad investigative journalism.

First paragraph: Impressive people only like flattery up to a certain point. Flattery is nice and ego-inflating, and in the right context, makes you a great wingman or wingwoman; however, really impressive people are probably constantly being told how great they are at something by someone, and that someone doesn’t have to be you. It’s kind of that celebrity thing - you know, like when you imagine meeting your celebrity crush (mine is British) and you treat him or her like he or she is just a normal person, and they fall in love with you because you are honest with him or her? FYI, that link has NSFW language, but it’s funny. Anyway, it’s probably something like that. I don’t do that though. I bring up everything impressive about Chris at every opportunity to receive more death glares from him.

Second paragraph: Impressive people like other impressive people. So, if you are friends with your impressive friend, congratulations, you are probably impressive. Impressive people like other people too, I guess, but let’s focus on the positive.

Third paragraph: Having impressive friends enriches your life. For example, I probably wouldn’t have tried chimichurri if I hadn’t been friends with Chris. That’s not really true - I had it before he tried making it, but you know, you can imagine. It’s nice to have impressive friends that make you do all the stuff we write about here that you wouldn’t do on your own - cook new things, wear new things, clean new things, etc.

Fourth paragraph: I think being someone who is easily impressed makes you seem like a rube, but it makes for a fun life. People used to make fun of me a lot for thinking everyone was somehow impressive, even if their accomplishments seemed entirely unremarkable. It made me more enthusiastic about the people I’d meet, though, so you know, what kind of life do you want to live?

Conclusion: This was supposed to be a five paragraph essay but I totally messed that up. Sorry Mrs. Brewer, I tried. Anyway, no conclusion. It was hard enough writing paragraphs instead of a bunch of stupid bullets.

OTF: Cookbooks and Kickstarter

We forgot Friday came after Thursday and didn’t prepare for OTF. Luckily, my friend sent me a great email telling me about her new project, a cookbook about immigrant food culture in Nairobi, Kenya. She’s kickstarter-ing it.

I tried to get the most awkward screengrab of April just for this caption

I tried to get the most awkward screengrab of April just for this caption

Let’s talk about the impressiveness-related things from this project.

  • Kickstarter - Using Kickstarter is impressive in two ways. One, it tells everyone you have a side gig/project and two, that it’s worth accomplishing enough that you are willing to bug your friends for money.

  • The book part of cookbook - if you write a book, people will call you an author, and not in some stupid metaphorical sense.

  • The cook part of cookbook - cooking is always impressive. Especially if you hang out with single 20-somethings because we are totally incapable of cooking well ourselves.

  • Nairobi - this is a very stuff-white-people-like concept, but you know, “exotic” locations.

  • Immigrant - stuffing diversity into the already-impressive foreign location.

An inspiration to us all. Consider backing the project on Kickstarter. That’s also impressive. Or I’m totally lying to you to help my friend out.

OTF: HTSI IRL

This is a real life picture of our logo I took last weekend while at a Bass Pro Shop in Manteca, CA. Don’t let anyone tell you California’s Central Valley isn’t magical.

It was actually almost a triple rainbow

It was actually almost a triple rainbow

This post is about HTSI’s impact on the real world, thanks to you readers. These are actual quotes from some of you guys!

“Your new blog posts!! 👏👏👌👌👍👍 (clap)(clap)(okay)(okay)(thumbs up)(thumbs up)”

No lies, I couldn’t figure out how to get Squarespace to display emojis. Thanks for your encouragement and support! I suppose now that it’s written, this will always be true, so I guess you’ll always like our new blog posts.

“And Your post is inspirig [sic] me to stand/sit up straighter”

I left the typos in there for two reasons. One, I like to display things as they are and not sugarcoat reality. You, the audience, have probably already figured that out. Two, I think it’s a commentary on text messaging as a medium. I don’t know what commentary, but it is one. By the way, those are from two different people. Yes, that means you, reader, are not alone.

We’d love to hear what you guys think about our posts. Shoot us an email at info@howtoseemimpressive.com. Tell us about your journey to impressiveness. Tell us what you want to learn more about. Tell us about that weird childhood story you always tell at parties.

Oh, and ask us for advice. We love that.

 

OTF: On Hospitality

Probably all of the posts that you’ll see from me on this blog will have something to do with cooking food, making a home, or hosting people. It’s because I’m more or less a 50-year old domestic goddess trapped in a scrawny Asian body. Just call me China Garten. If you got that joke, we would probably be fast friends. And no, that isn’t the misspelled name of a Chinese restaurant.

Beyond all of the hosting how-to’s and household hard skills (sidebar: I love alliteration), there are a lot of intangibles that make someone a hospitable person. Let’s take Ina Garten (pun completed) as an example.

The less skinny, white, and photogenic version of China Garten. (   img src   )

The less skinny, white, and photogenic version of China Garten. (img src)

In case you’re not familiar with Ina’s work, she is famous for cooking bougie food in the Hamptons for her husband and their friends. Her show, The Barefoot Contessais a staple on the Food Network. When I was in high school, I used to watch a lot of Food Network to teach myself how to cook for my friends, because cooking seemed like an impressive hobby to have that no normal high school student cares about. My love affair with impressiveness started early.

Also, hospitality. Because that’s what I was supposed to write about. Uh... here are three things that Ina does that make her a hospitable person:

  1. She makes space for marginalized people.
    She has a different group of outrageously gay people over at her mansion on every episode of her show. True statement. And while it might sound like I’m just being facetious, I legitimately think this is a key trait of hospitable people. The new kid, the ostracized, the loner - true hosts go out of their way to make space for those people, because they’ve been in their shoes.

     

  2. She is really generous.
    Meaning, she is rich as hell and buys sticks of butter made from the milk of cows who feast on caviar. And then uses 4 of them to make a salad for her gay friends. Generosity looks different depending on how much money you make, so feel free to adjust as necessary.

     

Sorry, I could only think of two things. Let’s talk about Guy Fieri instead.

In case you had any doubts that he is a tool.    (   img src   )

In case you had any doubts that he is a tool. (img src)

Here are three things that Guy does that make him a tool:

  1. He is the worst.