Recently I had a discussion with a friend about things people have said about us that just doesn’t make sense. In her case, an ex accused her of hating fun! Which was not only strange, but absolutely ridiculous. Who hates fun?! Anyone?
This probably happens to a lot of people. Sometimes it’s laughable and easily dismissed. Other times it’s insulting.
In my case, I’m a pretty calm person. I’m also rarely offended and I have almost NO ego connected to anything. I think most of the people I know would consider me to be a pretty easy-going, agreeable, and nice person. Yes, I have an opinion and I’m not afraid to share it; however, I am ecstatic to hear what other people think about a situation, too. I don’t by any means think my opinion is THE WAY to think, and I don’t try to shove my opinion in anyone’s face.
With that said, there are times when I get accused of being the opposite of what I consider myself to be. And it is absolutely BAFFLING to me. If it’s from someone who doesn’t know me well, I usually just shrug it off. Or laugh because ME? Really?
But sometimes it comes from someone I know. And I wonder what the hell I did wrong and why sometimes the history of our relationship can easily disappear in an instant. How suddenly someone I know and trust can think I am:
- Overly feminist
- Controlling or passive aggressive
- Exaggerating or straight out lying
- Pessimistic or trying to ruin others’ fun
And if you think I *am* any of the above – why keep me around? Why not drop me like a hot potato? Do yourself a favor and stay away if you think I am (or anyone else is) toxic!
Sometimes my words get twisted. I once stated that I like to live in towns that have malls (to me – that implies a certain size and level of civilization). To my ex-husband, this became “Crystal loves malls and consumer culture.” Nevermind the fact that it was rare for me to step foot in one and shopping has never been on my list of things to do for fun. Ever. Suddenly I grew horns and years of history were erased because I didn’t condemn malls like he did.
Not too long ago I said that I didn’t like the show Mike & Molly, and the response was, “Is it because you don’t like fat people?” Uhhhh, whaaaat? Why in the world would you think that? Actually, I just don’t particularly care for most sitcoms. I wasn’t a Friends fan, either! It’s just not something that tickles my particular funny bone. Do YOU hate fat people? ‘Cause now I have to wonder about you!
And then there was the time that a longtime friend thought I hated homosexuals because I had once said I’m not interested in getting busy with lady parts. Again, what the hell? Somehow my interest and preference for males was viewed as anti-gay just because I didn’t share a passion for lady parts? So if I were to say that I’d much prefer chocolate over vanilla, does that mean I think vanilla is the devil and should be banned and everyone who likes vanilla is the devil?
‘Cause whoa! That’s some deep shit right there. And I should maybe not speak ever again if that’s true.
I’m an introspective kind of gal, so when these things happen I immediately wonder what I’m doing wrong. How is it that people who should know me quite well could even for a moment consider that these things might be my point of view? And if I’m NOT doing something wrong, am I invisible? Am I speaking a different language?
Does that word not mean what I think it means??
I try to think of it from the other person’s point of view. Like, it probably has very little to do with me and more to do with that person – either their own feelings on the subject or a generalization they’ve made. But generally these situations arise around people with whom I mostly communicate just fine. That that doesn’t lead me to a clear answer, either.
I just don’t know why this happens. I just really want everyone to know that my opinion has nothing to do with the validity of yours. It’s okay to disagree – different points of view, different experiences and conclusions, are a huge part what makes life interesting! At least to me. If you want only people who have the same views as you do in your life, I give you a free pass to walk away from me right now – no explanation necessary. I’m not that kind of friend and I know it. I accept the consequences of not being a Yes Man.
Readers, what are your thoughts? Is there something in particular at the heart of misunderstandings? Is it just too common for people to look for the worst in others and mind-read? Am I seriously bad at communication?