You guys, sometimes I have a really hard time reading other people.
I usually feel like I am somewhat well-equipped with people skills. I can usually tell when I click with someone and when I don’t. Even though I am a people-pleaser at heart and like to be liked, I can live with this realization now.
Sometimes though, I can’t seem to figure it out. There a mixed messages and subsequently there’s a lot of hurt feelings and disappointment on my part. Sometimes I am sure it’s legit, sometimes though I feel I blow things out of proportion in my mind and make myself miserable that way.
You know the kind of people I am talking about. We all know them.
The kind, who blurt out an ‘offensive’ remark and then act like nothing happened while you stare at them gasping;
the kind, who wrong you and then expect you to apologize (FOR WHAT, I ask);
the kind, who act like jerks and then make you feel guilty if you bring it up with them;
the kind, who make you feel “left out”;
the kind, who are just not considerate of their behaviors and actions and who leave you with a crappy feeling.
Especially the two very last groups of people get to me. If someone is outright rejecting me, I can handle that. It doesn’t make me feel good, but I can react with equal rejection. Not everybody likes everybody. I get that. Ambiguousness, on the other hand, I have a very hard time with.
I am sure you want to say to me right now “don’t make everything about you”; and I swear, I don’t.
I am painfully aware that most people don’t think half as much about me, as I think about them and there clearly are situations where indifference is totally normal.
If the situation is somewhat more defined, though, it leaves me wondering. Unfortunately, I have this – very unhealthy, if I dare say so myself – tendency to always give somebody the benefit of the doubt one too many times. I search for faults in my own behavior first, before I go after somebody else and falsely accuse somebody. Why this might sound like a desirable quality to you, it sucks for me.
I can’t tell you how many hours I’ve spent mulling over something that somebody said or did, trying to understand and dissect the reasoning behind it. More often than not, I come up empty-handed feeling completely lost and blown off.
One thing I’ve learned over the last few years is that I will always end up with the shorter end of the stick, just because I want to be nice; because I don’t confront people about their shitty behavior unless I absolutely have to; and because I very often make excuses for somebody else’s shortcomings.
“I am sure (s)he didn’t mean that”.
“I probably misunderstood or misinterpreted”.
“I shouldn’t be so sensitive.”
“I’m sure (s)he just slipped up, I will give him/her one more chance.”
Does that kind of reasoning sound familiar?
Well, this is what I do all day long and I think some people have figured it out and without remorse, use my goodwill and permissiveness to their own advantage. I hate feeling played. I hate feeling abused this way, but I shy back from confrontation if I am not 100% sure that my criticism or my allegation is valid or even based on intentional behavior. Why confront someone about something that I am not even sure they did on purpose? Why stir the pot?
I keep thinking that if I can’t be friends with everyone (I know, talk about lofty goals!), then I should be at least be able to be friendly with everyone. But this is not how life works. People screw you over and even the option of “being friendly with each other” is simply gone, squandered.
Still, I have a really hard time accepting that. I let people walk all over me, constantly thinking that they’re not doing it on purpose or that they are just insensitive to other people’s feelings and not mean-spirited. My problem is that for whatever reason, I can’t emotionally let go of those people.
I want to fix the situation. I want to ask “why did you do this or that“, in hopes of a satisfying answer that sets my world right again.
Even if I know that they don’t have a satisfying answer for me, I am mostly frustrated and almost sad when it seems like I can’t have an amicable relationship with them anymore.
What the hell is wrong with me?
What it comes down to is that I basically let people make me feel this way. I know I don’t have to take everything so personal, but I don’t think you can do anything about your feelings, you can only decide how to react to them.
I posted this quote here last week and it kind of stuck with me all week and made me think.
Eleni also had a very interesting post recently, provocatively asking if we believed that we can choose how we feel and if we thought other people do (or do not) have any responsibility in how they make us feel.
I have a very strong opinion about that. I think every person has a huge responsibility in how they make people feel around them. I am not saying that I exclude myself from being guilty of making someone else feel shitty. I am sure I have, most likely unintentionally, made someone else feel less than welcome or misunderstood, but that doesn’t change the matter of the fact. I am just more aware of it now. I want to be aware, so I can change my own behavior towards others.
In return, I want to start asking questions, if I feel unsure about someone’s actions or remarks. Just thinking about it makes me break out in a cold sweat, but I think I could really gain something from this experience.
You see, the hardest part for me to realize at the end of the day, is that sometimes “it’s really not me, it is the other person“, as much as I am trying to blame myself for a “failed” relationship. Having the the insight that there is really nothing I can do, and that that is okay, would help me take a huge step forward on my way to self-discovery.