An ode to “You do you”

April 04, 2017
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Whether it be empowering, passive aggressive or dismissive, the phrase 'you do you' has become a staple in my vocab. For all its many applications though, I feel as though the phrase has been seriously underappreciated. Where are the memes? Or the inclusion in Clive Palmer’s Facebook haikus? Where are the block printed T-shirts? If there are shirts, I will buy 10. It takes confidence and craft to execute the perfect 'you do you' and when you nail it, the feeling of apathy-induced adrenaline will be amazing, so here's how to use it.

You, doing you

Other variants also include “Imma do me” and “Treat yo self”. Tom and Donna are no strangers to this principle because deciding to ‘do you’ yourself is amazing. It’s all about not relying on anyone else for happiness, motivation or entertainment. Go to brunch alone, take yourself to yoga class or mute your group chats and go to bed at nine. Whether you’re going through a bad breakup or assignments are getting you down, just DO YOU. Ain’t no one going to do it better because no one knows you better than yourself.

When your ex snapchats you at ridiculous hours of the night  

Cue passive aggressive. He wants something a little more than double chin selfies and you’re not interested in providing them (or having to pretend you’re doing anything other than watching Call the Midwife alone in bed). So, what do you tell him? “You do you boo boo”. Nothing like literally implying that he’ll have to take matters into his own hands. If it’s not snaps you’re getting but drunk texts or incessant calls instead, tone down the sass and up the apathy. The situation obviously requires some self-assessment on their behalf and there’s nothing like a timely reminder by you to initiate the process.

When someone abandons plans for the 5000th time

You’ve planned to catch up for coffee/lunch/drinks a thousand times (with their schedule always being inflexible and uncompromising) and, true to character, they bail at the last minute with a BS excuse. Again. They apologise profusely and there’s no other option than to say “That’s fine”, right? Wrong. Let their apology linger on read for a few minutes before plainly laying down your “You do you”. No emojis or “Haha OK” beforehand. You’re breaking down exactly what’s happening – they’re prioritising themselves ahead of the time you’ve wasted trying to arrange something. They can get back to you when they’re done being shitty.

To stop an incessant complainer

Whether it’s your brother or your co-worker, we have all been physically trapped against our will in a small space with an incessant complainer. They’re tired, stressed and, after googling their symptoms, they’re sure they’ve got a rare incurable rash. They’re not going to get my empathy and social norms dictate I can’t tell them to “Get over it, we’re all tired”. So? Just drop the ol’ you do you, kiddo. Patronising, but with a hint of concern. There is no possible way to come from that – except with silence. Beautiful silence for the rest of your shift.

Like duct-tape, “You do you” is versatile and endless in its use. Applied liberally nothing can go wrong. But also like duct-tape, it’s usually only a short term solution to shut some up.

(That’s a joke.)

Danica Lamb

Danica is a Laws Masters kid at UWA. She enjoys cheap coffee and 80s pop music.