This is an on-going series of posts explaining that while you may have a very annoying personality trait, I am not annoyed by you. It’s quite the opposite; I wish I was like you (see part 1, part 2, part 3)
When I was in high school, one of my best friends was a girl. One day we were talking – as gal-pals often do – and I mentioned that I thought she was treating one of my other friends (her boyfriend) a little unfairly. Her response was not a defense-laden diatribe about how he’s wrong and she’s right nor was it a “y’know what I’m sayin'”-filled explanation about high school relationship games. It was a simple, “That’s just me.”
I know she thought she was being cute. I know she thought – as we often do at that age – that she was simply defining herself the best she could, but I remember being really angry about that. For a long time I couldn’t figure out why my friend’s relationship with another friend should affect me so much. But it wasn’t how they interacted with each other, it was the fact that I respected her and her honest response to an honest “How come you’re being unfair?” was so deflating. I was in this friendship to learn about women; why did I get this non-answer?
A few years later, after dating a few ladies and after getting a little wiser, I think this non-answer was the best answer I ever got. Some people, regardless of age, gender, weight, physical ability, mental capacities, or socio-economic status, accept themselves as-is. “That’s just me” meant that she knew herself and that any boyfriend should know that too. At the time I found that profoundly unfair; one gets into a relationship to understand the other person, not to force their personality on to someone else. But now I’m jealous. That hubris must be so liberating.
Most of my life is spent trying to fix me. I’m a jerk, I have no idea about rudeness, I have a knack for finding peoples’ flaws, I shut down in crowds of more than five, I can’t sleep, I’m addicted to sugar, I have a heart condition that limits various activities… I could go on. But the majority of my thinking-time is spent on “How do I make these things better?” I literally have The Wife give me etiquette lessons, I force myself to talk to people when there’s a party, I’m down to about two Slurpees a week, I’ve completely changed my diet… I could go on. But how great it would be to simply go (I think many people do this later in life, which is why senior citizens can be such assholes), at 25 years old, this is me: people don’t like me because I point out their flaws; The Wife has a hard time with me because I’m rude to her family; I’m not my kids’ favorite parent because of my anger; I like meat and high-fructose corn syrup and I don’t care if I have to have heart surgery at 35 and get false teeth at 40. That’s just me.
I wish I could do that.
Instead, I have an internal moral discussion every time I want to spend $2 on a frozen Coke.
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