Grin and bear it

Whether due to my introversion, my stage in life, or my Americanness, I’m a generally independent person. I don’t like when I have to depend on other people for something, especially when they don’t do it right.

Unfortunately, a lot of journalism is depending on other people, specifically when you need interviewees to call you back. They hardly ever do, and never when you need them to, but I hate bugging people by calling back multiple times.

How are we supposed to deal with situations that go against our very nature? My job depends on me being a dependent extrovert who doesn’t mind annoying people. How am I supposed to do that?!

I don’t know. I’ve been doing this for a long time but I don’t have any tips for it beyond “grin and bear it.”

I had to get used to calling people until they answer, to making small talk with them, to depending on interviewees and editors and photographers. It’s strange to work on such a big team, where you’re responsible for a small part and other people take care of the rest. It’s strange to have to pretend to be extroverted.

Grin and bear it. I’ve heard that phrase two ways, “Grit and bear it,” and “Grin and bear it.” I prefer grin, because it fits more situations. Everyone knows how to grit and bear a sore back or traffic or an annoying boss. You’re allowed to be externally frustrated with these things. But some things you have to bear without letting it show. People in retail or the service industry have to do this all the time. Grin and bear it. Don’t let out your frustration yet, don’t let it show.

So, I do that too. I take a deep breath, set my jaw, and dial the phone for the thousandth time, knowing I’ll get sent to voicemail and knowing that I’m probably being annoying and looking forward to the part of the process where I get to sit down and write the article without any more phone calls.

Luckily, it gets easier over time. I no longer pick up the phone, dial a few numbers and hang up out of nervousness. I’m getting better at depending on and trusting others. It may always be hard to act like someone you’re not, but it does help you grow in the long run.

Keep on grinning, my friends, and we’ll get through it together. After all, it’s possible that someday that grin won’t have to be faked.