Thursday, May 3, 2012

Judge of Character

I have a lot of faults.

I'm sure that's news to all of you.

... just kidding.

One of them is that I can be really abrasive. Sometimes this is in the way I approach a conversation. I'll add my two cents, just thinking it's my two cents, not really worrying about how I might come off or what others might perceive. And without thinking that my opinion is more important, it's just my opinion.

What happens is that I get perceived as being dismissive.

The truth is, that I am really not. I honestly listen to what my friends have to say. And I remember most of everything they say, for a really long time. I internalize it all and can bring something up months later that they said in passing.

But I can see that I have made others feel unimportant or like they don't matter or like their opinion is less. When consciously, that is not at all what I think! I respect other people's decisions and thoughts.

Obviously, you've guessed that I'm writing this post because I recently hurt someone in this way. This person even went so far as to post about it on Facebook. The post said, "Is it lonely up there on your pedestal?"

Since I have confirmed that this was, in fact, directed at me, I have replayed the related conversation in my mind at least fifteen times, wondering what I said or did or how I came off to make this person feel that way.

My intention was not at all to be rude or snotty or demeaning or dismissive. I'd never mean to make a friend feel that way! And I feel really bad that I have.

When I "approached" this person about it, in text, since they weren't readily available for discussion, the person also added that I can be "hard to talk to at times."

Man, that is sad to hear. It makes me sad to know that a friend feels that way about me.

Have you ever had that friend who has that "one thing" that gets on everyone's nerves? And you love that friend, and sometimes it's a matter of, "Oh you know, there's that one thing, but we love her anyway." Like you just have to forgive that negative quality and love your friend?

I don't want to be that friend. The one who everyone talks about saying, "Yeah, Janae can be really _______, but it's OK. We can love her anyway." Ew. The fact that I'd have a quality that people just have to forgive and accept and "deal with"? That thought repulses me. The thought of my friends thinking that I consider myself to be on a pedestal gives me anxiety.

But I am grateful to know that this friend I speak with frequently perceives me as being dismissive or hard to talk to. This gives me a chance to be more conscious about how I might make others feel. Because when it's someone I care about, I do care about what they think. It might not come off that way, but I genuinely do.

Anyone else have a personality defect of mine for me to fix? I know you do.

1 comment:

Cody said...

Yikes, this is a tough one. I can understand this because most people's first impression of me is arrogant and distant. In the case of this specific situation I would say that sometimes, actually a lot of times, people just need to be heard. They're looking to be heard more than counseled. I suppose that always sharing your opinion could be seen as "let me dispense upon you by infinite wisdom." Could that be a possibility in this specific situation?