I have been back in Paris for a couple of weeks now. This is the city where I was born, raised, and went to college until I was 22, apart from two years that I spent in Provence. I still have many friends that have survived the distance and my being away for months at a time. I consider them my best friends, they don’t judge me or my life, and are always there for me when I come back.
I have noticed a pattern though. When I come back, I tend to behave to way I was behaving when I met them. I was quite different with each circle of friends. My friends from business school know me as an extrovert, fun loving girl, while my friends from private, catholic middle school remember me like a rebel from the norm, a somehow boyish and introvert girl. Every time I changed school and went on to meet new people, I changed, but I realize that I have a hard time changing with people who knew the ”old me”.
A few days ago, I was having dinner with a friend. When I met that particular friend, I was smoking when going out. I enjoyed a cigarette with my drink. This time, I hadn’t smoked in days, and never more than one or two cigarettes at a time. Since I didn’t want to abuse my friend’s hospitality, I still brought a pack of cigarettes, thinking ”I won’t smoke because I don’t really feel like it, but should I feel like a cigarette, I won’t have to bug her for one”. After half an hour of talking, I lit the first one. The rest of the pack disappeared during the next couple of hours.
I know it is very hard to break a habit. In this case, I associate my friend with a pleasure I used to enjoy, smoking with a drink. While I have slowed down on the smoking, I didn’t quit completely, and when I saw my friend again, I went back to my old habit, without thinking whether I was enjoying my smoke or not. This is absolutely not my friend’s fault, she never offered me a smoke, but seeing her put me back in the mood. Maybe I’ll try what my friend told me about vaping that it’s a healthier alternative and its a very good way to continue on the path of quitting smoking. She said that if I can’t stop abruptly, take baby steps and vaping (Go this site to learn more about portable vaping) using a handheld vaporizer would sure beneficial for the process.
It is the same way with saving and spending. I try to live a simple, modest life, and when I go back to Paris my friends want to go out and have $15 drinks and $50 meals. I have stopped feeling uncomfortable about that. I agree to go once in a while, with my closest friends, for an important occasion. With not-so-close friends, I try to visit them at home, and bring a bottle of wine, or meet for coffee instead of drinks. It works just fine. This has never been a habit for me, I have always thought such amounts were crazy, even back when I was a broke student in Paris. My classmates would wonder why I’d be able to jet off to Barcelona or Budapest for the weekend, while they would go out and drop about the same amount on drinks at a fancy club.
Try to change the habit one step at a time. If you go out five times a week, try replacing one outing by another social activity with your friends, like a game night. Do it for a month, and then replace a second night out by something else. Focusing on one habit at a time will help you better than fighting several battles all at once.