For people that suffer from a lot of insecurity, the IDGAF view may be a good thing. You stop worrying about what everyone thinks of you, suddenly feel comfortable doing the things you’ve always been afraid to do and start speaking your mind. Excellent! But is there a point where this goes too far? Yes, there is. We’re not talking about the people who on a whim say "IDGAF"—we’re talking about those of you who make this a lifestyle and literally don’t give a fuck about anything. That’s when you start to have a problem—and here’s why.
You’re going to hurt yourself
As collegiette women, we definitely have days where everything goes wrong and life is a sneaky hate spiral. Our typical inclination in dealing with stress and being overwhelmed is to go out with friends, exercise or maybe eat some ice cream while Netflix-ing. However, a woman who participates in the IDGAF lifestyle is more apt to find problematic ways of dealing with stress that could hurt her in the long run.
“College can be really hard, and eventually you hit a wall of like, ‘I don’t want to care about anything anymore,’ but that also means not honoring your emotions or your inner feelings,” says Morgan Mazzocco, a junior at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo. “For me, IDGAF ended up being me hooking up with a lot of people and drinking too much, because by saying I didn’t care about anything, I had an excuse to basically be reckless to cope with being overwhelmed by college."
Now, hooking up with people and partaking in “the college experience” doesn’t have to be bad, but when those practices start to become a method of distraction or confronting stress, you’re walking down the path toward being a hot mess. To prove how little you care about being single, you make out with three guys at a party. To prove how little you care about not having a lot of money, you continually impress your friends by blowing it all on needless items. It doesn’t have to be that way.
“By far, young adults have some of the most interesting ways of coping with stress,” says Dr. Rick Brinkman, an author and speaker about stress and communication. “I travel everywhere lecturing on coping mechanisms, which become riskier as someone is falling prey to apathy. Apathy leads to detachment, and then someone will operate from a position that, well, they don’t have to take anything seriously.”
You can admit that something makes you unhappy, and that you do actually give a fuck about it, even if it’s just a little fuck. Plus, dealing with hardships in an unhealthy manner might send you into an even bigger, more stressful situation that would be hard to ignore. By tuning out your natural inclination to experience emotion or making a decision that you’ll later regret, you end up hurting yourself in the long run.
You’re going to hurt the people around you
Giving us friends is basically the universe’s way of saving our lives on a day-to-day basis. The same goes for family. They keep us motivated and happy, but most importantly, they oftentimes keep us grounded. However, choosing to go about friendship and social activities in an IDGAF manner will inevitably hurt the people that love you the most.
“People want their friends to care about them and to care about themselves,” says Dr. Irene Levine, an expert on college friendship. “Not caring about people or things—or acting as if you don’t—can surely affect your friendships. You might not take the initiative to plan get-togethers or outings with your friends to the extent that they may feel like relationships with you are one-sided. If they plan something, you may not show any interest or enthusiasm, which they can interpret as boredom or disinterest.”
Katie McNierney, a junior at Barnard College, gives her own testimony about apathy and friendship. “This is still an issue for me, but when I’m acting like I don’t care about anything, that can also include my friends,” she says. “Things build up and then I reach a point of just being so done with everything, that it starts to also be everyone. And then I ignore people or act like I don’t care about them when I really do.”
If you take anything away from this, let it be that the important people in your life care about you a lot, and they want to see you living the best life you can, which is not always the IDGAF life. Not caring about anything inherently means not caring as much about the people that love you. It also might mean acting out in ways that hurt their feelings and your relationship. A lot of times when a friend lectures you, it may come off as mothering or like they know better than you how to manage your life. Really, they’re just trying to be encouraging, and let you know they’re there. They want you to feel, but above all they want you to be you, fucks given and all.
You will become apathetic to important situations
Not giving a fuck basically comes down to being out of touch with your emotions––on purpose. The deliberate absence of interest and concern toward the general happenings in your life is probably not a good thing. You end up boxing yourself in a negative space devoid of stress. While living a stress-free life may seem like a positive thing, you ultimately end up putting your joy at risk too. Being painfully overwhelmed and being ridiculously happy are two very necessary feelings that will alert you to the fact that you need to care about something. But as you get in the routine of not giving a fuck, that’s going to become a hard habit to break.
“I think anxiety can be a really good thing,” says Malika Flanagan, a senior at the Massachusetts Institution of Technology. “It keeps you in check and lets you know when something big is happening. My anxiety lets me know when I need to take a situation seriously.”
There are going to be moments when you can’t shove things off and just say “whatever.” Relationships are going to end, you’re going to experience failures and successes, and life is going to keep moving and throwing itself at you. Yes, we encourage minimizing negative feelings and stressful life situations, but when they are unavoidable, you can’t blow off the emotions associated with these moments.
“Really it’s all about the approach,” says Dr. Brinkman. “If you are hell-bent on channeling your stress into apathy, I would strongly suggest reworking that into a more positive form of self-discovery by confronting the feelings that overwhelm you. Apathy is necessary in doses, but it shouldn’t be a constant.”
It’s time to challenge yourself and start giving a fuck. We don’t condemn you for the IDGAF life. It’s pain free and can be packed with fun. However, we ask that you take action and make your choices thoughtfully and with purpose, instead of being nonchalant. Feel passionately about what matters, whether it’s being angry or happy. Overall, embrace you. You should give a fuck about your life and honor yourself because you are amazing and your life deserves to be cared about.