From: Bunny Batzri
Subject: Making your bed, lying in it.
People talk and people argue.
People talk, argue, and have opinions. If they don't, there's a good chance that they're not people. (And since I know that everyone reading this has just had an opinion, and that some of those opinions are already leading to arguement, I feel confident in saying that my statements, in this instance, are reasonably universal. With the exception of the extremely sick, the dead, the sleeping, and people under the age of two.) And when people are talking, arguing and having opinions in the company of other people, they will -- inevitably -- piss somebody off. It can't be helped. I've seen friends fall out over things as superficially simple as 'not liking the same movie' or 'prefers Mounds to Almond Joy'. It all comes down to the human urges to fight and complicate things; those instincts enable us to shout for a million years without pausing or thinking 'hey, maybe candy isn't a valid reason to swear a blood feud that will span generations'.
It's all in how you look at it.
One interesting side-effect of all this conversation, opinionation and argument is that no two people are the same. Your opinion is not my opinion; your way of reading these words is not my way of writing them. It may come close -- there are people in this world whose opinions match mine ninety-nine point nine-nine-nine percent of the time -- but it's not going to be exact. And that's cool. That's just the way things ought to be. If we were all the same, we'd be looking at a world with about as much intrigue and excitement as an episode of 'The Glowworms', and that would pretty much suck. But (and you knew this was coming)...
Because no two people are the same, we need to remember that sometimes, we're going to make folks angry just by being ourselves. Take me, for example. I am opinionated, yes; I am also not shy about sharing those opinions. I speak my mind. I make harsh points. Sometimes I make those points harsher than they need to be, because people are more likely to genuinely pay attention to (and thus take stock by) an extreme. Are my actual opinions always as harsh as those opinions that I put forth? No, not really. I don't wander through my days in a frothing Liberal-Modernist rage, taking umbrage at every little thing that I encounter. Do I sometimes take severe flak for the opinions that I espouse? Oh, HELL yes. There are people who hate me for the things I say, and for a wide variety of reasons -- everything from 'she's just being mean' down to 'she's slumming, pretending to be all liberal and then going home to her shiny crystal castle'. Do I keep saying the things I say anyhow? Yup. Because from my perspective, a little personal discomfort is worth it, if what needs to be said is said.
This doesn't change the part where sometimes, I'm a little bit baffled by the things people take offense at -- and the things they don't that they don't expect to offend. If you act like a bitch, guess what I'm going to treat you like? Good guess. If you're argumentative and hostile towards me, well, that's your choice, but don't expect me to invite you to my birthday party. If you're snide, you'll be treated like someone who is snide, and if you're mean for the sake of meanness, you'll be treated like someone who is mean, and and and. All too often, I encounter genuine cases of 'I am a bitch to you and you just have to roll over and take it because if you're even a little bit mean to me I'll scream and cry and call you horrible names'. Excuse me, but bwah?
If I insult you, I expect you to be insulted and to treat me accordingly. Believe that I will do the same.
If I call you names, I expect you to be hurt, and to react as you see fit. Believe that I will do the same.
If I lie to you, I expect you not to trust me. If I attack you, I expect you to defend yourself. If I'm snide and hostile towards you, I expect you to take offense. Believe...
We're always going to have opinions, and those opinions are always going to hurt people. None of us are mind-readers; if you don't tell me that you're hurt, I won't necessarily know. At the same time, once you HAVE told me what hurt you, the ball is in my court. I have to decide whether to apologize and explain myself, or whether I'm just going to let you walk away and hate me forever. It takes two to tango; it also takes two to have an actual discussion.
Anything else? Is just a lecture.
Like this one.
C'mon, SOMEONE had to say it!