Thursday, December 11, 2008

"You're good with people"

That's what a friend at university, Miss L, told me about two weeks ago. I couldn't stop myself from laughing, because that's probably the last thing I would say about myself. I've been thinking about her comment, wondering why she would say that. I know that she wouldn't say it unless she meant it.

People are quick to judge others. What surprises me is how easily they offer their judgment to others. I form opinions as well, naturally, but I usually keep them to myself. I know that there are certain people that I will never get along with because we are simply different, but that doesn't mean that I don't like them. I'm just indifferent. I can get annoyed by other people's behavior, especially if they are being mean, but that doesn't mean that I'll let everybody else know how I feel. I don't like all the gossip and the talking about people who aren't there to defend themselves. Last year, I had a huge disagreement with a friend of mine. She did something that truly hurt my feelings and I told her that I didn't want her to contact me because I didn't trust her and probably never would again. Up to this day, I haven't told anyone what had happened. I told one friend, who doesn't know her, that I had a fight with a friend of mine and that she had hurt my feelings and lost my trust, but I never said what she had done. Last week, I met another friend who had been contacted by that person and when that friend asked me about our fight, I told her that I didn't want to hear from her, but I didn't say why. There are always two sides to every story and she has every right to tell her side but I'm not going to talk badly about her just because she hurt me. What she did to me shouldn't affect her relationship to other people, unless it had something to do with them, which it didn't.

I hate it when people trash-talk others. I get that not everyone can be friends, but that doesn't give you the right to talk badly about others. I'm not going to say that I never do that, but I usually talk about how their behavior affects me. I hate when someone trash-talks another person they hardly even know. How can you judge someone after having talked to them for five minutes? Sometimes I wonder whether people realize that their disapproval can be easily seen on their faces.

Last night, Miss L and I talked again, about her comment, and I told her a few tidbits from my past. In junior high and high school, I was the outsider, no surprise here. I already had a very distinct sense of fashion, which meant that I refused and still refuse to wear something just because it is trendy. I was never among the cool kids and that made me an easy target for bullies. It never was as bad as it can get, but I got made fun of plenty. That is a part of my past that I hardly ever talk about. I know that I'm an outsider and I probably always will be to some extent, because I have a very hard time fitting in and I refuse to change myself just to fit in. I'm mostly okay with that and I carry being special with pride. But the fact that I was bullied is something that I want to bury in the past.

Miss L said that when you go through something like that you lose all trust in people. I have never thought about my past this way and I think she's right. I generally don't trust people. There is not one single person in my life (IRL) who knows everything that's going on right now. Once I trust someone, they can learn a lot about me in a short period of time, but that privilege can be lost easily as well. I try not to depend on others too much and I think this whole people-in-my-life-not-caring-thing has hit me as hard as it did is because I did trust them. They know a lot about me and if they wanted to it would be fairly easy for them to hurt me. Letting someone in makes you vulnerable.

I was at the Christmas party of the student organization I work at tonight and out of the approximately 50 people I knew 3. I mainly tried to stay close to one of them and talk to them, because most people at the party knew at least some people fairly well. At times I just stood there, looking around, not talking to anyone. I have a hard time making small talk and when people talk to someone they know I will not get into the conversation. At one point, the 'host' took pity on me and made me take part in the game of the night. The goal was to find out who the nickname on a piece of paper referred to, ask them for their riddle/exercise, solve the riddle/do the exercise and in return get a 'password' from them. There were 7 nicknames and when you had all the passwords you got a prize. I didn't take part in the game at first because I didn't know any of the people the nicknames could have referred to and so I saw no point in trying to figure it out, because I couldn't have solved it on my own. The host paired me up with this girl who I actually had known before but who didn't remember me and together we were able to get all the seven passwords. I had no problem walking up to the people to ask for the riddle, because I knew what we would talk about. What I am completely unable to do is start talking to someone I don't know because I won't know what to talk about. Small talk isn't a great option when they know enough other people to have an interesting conversation with. At one point I was so frustrated and bored that I just wanted to leave, which I guess showed because that's when the host made me take part in the game. And this is exactly why I know that I'm not good with people.

But I understand why someone else would think that. Because I don't trash-talk others, I am friendly and nice and am interested in what other people tell me. I just don't trust them and won't tell them anything meaningful about myself. I've also generally stopped talking about films, tv-shows and actresses because people are just not interested and I'm tired of them letting me know through their body language that they don't care. If people don't know you well they have a hard time judging you based on anything else than appearance and your behaviour. When someone judges me now based on my style it bounces right off. I've grown confident in my style and I will only wear clothes that I feel comfortable in. As I'm friendly, there is no reason for anyone to be mean based on that. I've learned to blend into the background well enough so no one will care enough to bully me anymore. People won't notice or remember me if I don't want them to. And that saddens me a bit.

On a side-note: I realize that the older you get, the less likely someone will openly make fun of you. Bullying is something that openly happens when growing up, but there are so many ways in which adults can let you know how they truly feel about you that I am glad that I know how to not appear on anyone's radar.

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