There’s something I don’t understand about the world. Granted, I’m non-confrontational, and it’s something I am attempting to deal with. This blog is one of my steps in that attempt; writing my opinions out is a safe and secure way of expressing them carefully but still expressing them. Baby steps, one after another.
I still find non-confrontational preferable to being rude. There’s enough rudeness in the world, and I certainly don’t want to fall into that category. I doubt that I ever would, but I remain vigilant. I would far rather lie and save someone’s feelings than tell the truth in an abrupt and hostile manner. Of course, the best route of all is to voice a true opinion in a kind and considerate manner, but that does take quite a bit more artistry and control. I’m working on it.
There’s yet a third option, and this is the one that I really don’t get. In fact, not only do I not understand people like this, but I absolutely detest this mentality.
I hate passive-aggressive attitudes.
There, I’ve said it.
What do I mean by this? I mean the back-handed insults, the snarky comments, the holier-than-thou compliments.
Back-handed insults first. We’ve all been there. “I just love how you can go out in the world and don’t care what your hair looks like.” “Wow, I could never pull that look off.” Are a couple examples that come right to the surface of my mind. There are many, many more, but women are most proficient at this method when it comes to fashion, so they’re the easiest for me to remember. In one deft sentence that could sound like a complement, you are insulted, in theory without your knowledge. This method has the additional benefit to the giver of making them feel superior; they just got away with insulting you and you’re obviously too ignorant to notice.
Snarky comments…they have their place. I’m a HUGE fan of Regretsy, and it’s chock-full of wonderfully entertaining snarky comments. But then…that’s what the site is for. When they’re out of place out in the wild, they annoy the piss out of me, especially when it’s combined with the duck-and-cover method of people who have absolutely no courage. An incident in particular comes to mind for me. I was at the local convenience store (right across the street from the apartment I lived in at the time), buying ice cream in the summer for myself and a few friends who had stopped by to visit. Now…in high school I was wracked with a tremendous amount of insecurity, the majority of which revolved around my weight. Ironically, at the time this happened, I was near the thinnest I’ve ever been and in hindsight I know these remarks were way off base…and realistically outrageous. I looked good at this point in time. But these type of people…remember your weaknesses and will prey on them like werewolves going after a virgin maiden in the forest. There were two girls there who I’d never had more than 3 words with in my entire high school years. In fact I barely recognized either of them. In general, I give people the benefit of the doubt, so I smiled and said “hi” in my best friendly voice. Heck…even then, high school was years past, and people change, right? But as they were walking out the door they made some incredibly rude comment about a fat girl like me needing all that ice cream…or something. Honestly, I’ve forgotten the exact wording. And to my credit, I have to admit my first thought wasn’t “ouch.” I thought “well, some people never grow up,” and shrugged it off, which is why I honestly don’t remember what they said. But what they said wasn’t really the point. The point is that they had to make some snarky, cruel, “witty” (I’m sure they felt it was witty, at least) comment…but weren’t brave enough to walk up to me and say it. No…they had to do it as the door closed behind them and giggle to each other. Guess they felt pretty superior to me, too, eh? Yeah…well, they were wrong. They’re not…but I’m sure it made them feel really good about themselves at the time.
Holier-than-thou compliments get on my very last nerve. People who have deigned to grace you with their brilliance. This usually involves some sort of light criticism because, you are of course inferior to them, followed by some sort of vague, not completely heart-felt compliment. A charity compliment, if you will. Gee, thanks for throwing me a bone…I was really desperate for your attention <sarcasm>. Again, they walk away feeling vastly superior.
And I guess in my strange way of working this out for myself on “paper,” that’s what it all comes down to. They’re all methods of people making themselves feel better…at some victim’s cost. Which really puts them in the same category as the plain, all-out-vicious and rude people. They push you down not to raise themselves up, but because if you’re lower than they are, they are by default higher than you. It makes me feel a bit sorry for a lot of people, that they so badly need a ego boost that they would verbally harm other people to get there.
As I’ve noted before in my life, misery truly does love company. Miserable people don’t seek out other miserable people to be around, they create them.