From a letter by New York Times reporter Ariel Kaminer to David Rakoff:
Here is the simplest lesson you taught me: Don’t trade up.Read the letter; there’s much more.
In terms of three-word volumes, it ranks right up there with “It gets better.” Like that more famous line, it starts out as a bit of simple, practical instruction — don’t back out of a social engagement just because a snazzier offer came along — and broadens out into an entire perspective on how to live. Don’t grade friendships on a hierarchical scale. Don’t value people based on some external indicator of status. Don’t take a competitive view of your social life. There are very few rules I carry around with me every day. Don’t trade up is one of them, and I truly can’t tell you how many seemingly complicated situations it resolved into clarity and fairness. I am grateful to you for that.
David Rakoff (1964–2012)
For use in “seemingly intolerable situations”