On Frenemies

I’m thankful for my lack of perception.

I’m kind of slow on the uptake. Sometimes I don’t realize things until way later than I should. I’m kind of naive and frankly kind of dumb. It’s okay. I don’t hate it about myself. I know I’m not brilliant. I don’t let it limit me.

Because fuck limitations.

In fact, I think that naivete and obliviousness are my best assets. They’re my best qualities. They’re the things that keep me happy and sane.

They’re what enable me to continue to love everybody. Because 90% of the time, I just don’t recognize when people are mean.

But every once in a while, I do. Once in a blue moon, somebody’s so exceptionally good at saying nasty things to me that it registers.

And it hurts.

I don’t want to go into detail about the situation because it’s pointless. Long story short, I got into a conversation with somebody who I’ve known for quite a while – nearly a year, now, or since shortly after I started my YouTube channel.

The conversation wasn’t outright nasty, but it wasn’t productive either. I vented a frustration of mine. I got criticized for it.

Fine, no big deal. I’m all about conversation and growing and exposing myself to new ideas and smart people.

But the criticism wasn’t constructive. It was terse, short, and dismissive. It didn’t have an air of, “I’m saying this to help you and possibly show you an alternative way of thinking,” but rather, “You’re wrong and I’m going to make sure you feel wrong.”

There’s a difference. There’s a certain sharpness. There’s a way to differentiate.

And I realized that the most recent interaction I’ve had with this person was similar. It was several months ago. I’d posted my opinion, and was met with, “Look at how wrong you are. You should feel wrong.”

In fact, that seems to be the only interaction we’ve ever had. This is a person who, with one strange exception, has only shown disdain for me, for my thoughts, for my opinions, and for how I express them. If I’m not saying something terribly wrong, I don’t exist. I’m irrelevant.

But when I’m wrong… I am so very wrong.

I thought for a moment that I had my first frenemy.

But then I kept thinking.

I remember one of my high school friends treating me similarly.

Anything I said was met with, “Anyways…” and a swift change of topic.

Until I disagreed with her. Until I said something wrong.

Then she had to tell me that I was wrong. She had to tell me why I was wrong. She had to explain, loudly, in no uncertain terms, in front of as large an audience as we could gather, that my thought was the dumbest thing she could possibly imagine in the realm of possibility.

And I dealt with that for years. I didn’t notice anything wrong with it. Not until I watched her do it to somebody else. Not until I watched another person’s face sink and her eyes lose their light while my so-called friend dismantled her in front of a roomful of people because her thought was so stupid that it warranted public humiliation.

And as I read over this conversation, I feel exactly how I did in high school. I’m annoyed that a person can find the time to follow me and listen to me solely to discredit and criticize me. I’m annoyed that I haven’t gotten any positive message or helpful contribution in the face of disagreement – only dismissal.

That’s fucked up.

I’m going to end this with something I learned from a bitter, nasty man I dated briefly a couple years ago: Sometimes you need to learn to emphasize being kind over being right.

You can correct people when they’re wrong. You can disagree with somebody respectfully. You can build on conversations instead of ripping them from the ground.

So to the person I’m referring to, kindly stop following me. For the rest of you, thank you for disagreeing with me in a meaningful way that helps me grow and become a better person and a better creator.

1 comment on “On Frenemies”

  1. Patrick Cleary Reply

    Oh, crap, is it me? I feel like it’s me. I’m always trying to be helpful, but I feel like I’m being too smarty-pants for the room sometimes. Crap.

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