It was cool, it was all pretend

I should start off by saying that I know that my way of doing things is not the only way that works. I hope I am not so self-centered as to think that I have a corner on . . . well, pretty much anything. People are wired in different ways, and therefore do things in different ways. I like to think, I hope that I am respectful of that.

With all that said, one thing I don’t understand is when someone is actually mad at you and they act like they aren’t. “How ARE you? It’s SO GOOD to see you!” When, really, they’re holding a grudge. And I know it. But they refuse to talk about it.

If I’m mad at someone, I either (a.) try to work it out or (b.) try to stay out of their way until I am over it or ready to (a.) try to work it out. I am polite, but I am no good at pretending I’m okay when I’m not. I know that’s a flaw, and it’s one of my major ones, because I can’t hide my feelings at all. My version of the scene would be polite but not effusive small talk, after which I retreat to another part of the room in order to avoid further awkwardness. I know some people are not so good at the talking things out, or maybe they aren’t okay with being angry and don’t know what to do with the anger, but it’s really hard for me to know how to respond when things are not straightforward. I am not (nor, unfortunately, will I ever be) a subtle person. Just last night, Mike kept saying stuff about biscuits, and how tasty they are, but how I didn’t have to make them, but they sure would go great with the chicken soup he made, wouldn’t they? And I finally said, “If you want me to make biscuits, you have to say, ‘Would you make some biscuits, please? Otherwise I can’t tell if you seriously want them or you are just talking about them theoretically but would be fine without them.'” He has learned that he has to tell me what he wants for birthdays instead of hinting around, because the hinting around didn’t work in the past. It went right over my head, in fact.

That was a bit of a digression, but back to the original topic: One of the things that I have learned from my relationship with Mike is that things can’t always be worked out right away, and that that’s okay. I hope I am a little less forceful with my whole, “We need to deal with this issue and get back to normal levels of friendship RIGHT AWAY,” than I used to be. I no longer think that talking things out is the only way to heal wounds, because sometimes you just need time. But I still have a hard time understanding what to do when I know that someone is mad, really mad, at me but they don’t say so/act like it to my face. I know my way isn’t the only way that things work out, but it seems closer to an effective way to do things than . . . just ignoring or pretending. Maybe I’m putting too much emphasis on things being effective and not enough emphasis on being compassionate toward the capricious workings of the heart.

I still daydream about being straightforward in response to, “How ARE you?” but I think we all know that I’ll be polite but not effusive and retreat as soon as possible. I guess that’s okay, if that’s how they want to leave things, I can respect that. But it’s disappointing just the same.

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  1. I don’t think you should always daydream; I think you should at least one time try the straightforward approach. Maybe it’s just because you and I are wildly different people, but I get a lot of sadistic pleasure in seeing people react when I do that.

    “Hey man, how’s it goin? Watcha been up to?”
    “Oh, you’re talking TO me now, instead of ABOUT me to so-and-so…well this is an interesting turn of events. To be honest, I feel like ripping your face off. How are you?”

    Posted 1/6/2006 at | Permalink
  2. Kari

    Mine would be milder, I think, Steve, to no one’s surprise I am sure. 😉 More along the lines of, “It’s SO GOOD to see you!” “Really? I thought you were pretty pissed at me.”

    Posted 1/6/2006 at | Permalink
  3. Hehe… that would be funny.

    I’m with you, Kari, I’m one of those “let’s get it hashed out right this very minute” people. My wife isn’t. I’m learning to deal with it. It’s a learning experience, for sure.

    Posted 1/6/2006 at | Permalink
  4. i can’t stand when people put up a front to spare my feelings. can’t stand it! just tell me or forget about it. argh.

    nice use of the kelly clarkson lyric. yay! 🙂

    Posted 1/7/2006 at | Permalink
  5. Yeah, I like your way, too, Kari. I think you should answer honestly when someone asks how you are. It’s not OK to lie just to be polite, in my opinion.

    I’d love to see the other person’s face when this occurred: “It’s SO GOOD to see you!” “Really? I thought you were pretty pissed at me.”

    Posted 1/7/2006 at | Permalink
  6. So tell me next time I make you mad, eh? 😉

    I’m with you—I often want to rip folks’ heads off, but I just smile through gritted teeth.

    Posted 1/7/2006 at | Permalink

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