“People talk so much shit about me in barber shops, they forget to get their hair cut.”
Well, not literally, but alright, fair enough, Kanye: not everybody I’ve ever interacted with likes me. And that’s fine. It’s a tenant of human nature to be off-putting to some people, whether they express their distaste behind your back, in a comment section, or maybe just maybe to your face. You probably did do something to offend at least one of their sensibilities if they’re taking time away from their probably genial personality to dislike you. After all, other people like them enough to have placed them in a group setting. So ultimately, how bad can they be, because how bad can you be?
Even just accepting this is usually enough not to write anyone off. No need for confrontation. It’s not like you want them to know you know you might have possibly been in the wrong or something close to it. Some harm, some foul, we’re out here trying.
The worst though, is when someone isn’t even trying. Harm, but no discernible foul.
You know the type. Standing in the circle, but rolling eyes, or half-chuckling at whatever hilarious, yet profound thing you just said. And then, once they’ve had enough of that, hopefully they wander away, and don’t actively seek to leave a wake of destruction made of you and your self-worth.
It might start with something small. Perhaps with the audible eye roll: the scoff-like, exhale-through-the-nose. Just enough to draw attention to their moderate distaste for the straight fire you’re spitting. From there maybe they cock their head to the side like “Huh. Really?” You glance over at them then continue to lay down gospel.
When it becomes obvious that this person will only giving you doubt, no benefit, you are finally forced to come to the conclusion that maybe there’s just no winning them over. This is startling.
Because that’s really the worst part: the realization that nothing you do or say will win them over, and that any effort probably just makes it worse. And from there things can unravel very quickly. If you were talking a lot, you go mute. If you find yourself in a future situation with this person, you won’t approach it with nearly as much confidence, even if everyone else likes you.
It’s like when you’re interacting with your not that recent ex and their new boyfriend or girlfriend. You may be acting fine, they may be acting fine, but it’s never really fine. There’s a mutual sense of unease. And, especially in that situation, what’s the point? The guy sitting across from you has an inherent, pulsing flaw: you’re not him anymore. And on the other hand, you used to be him.
The reality here is that everyone falls on both sides of this at some point or another. It’s startling because 1) How could anyone be that deflating for no apparent reason, and (usually a little while later when your ego’s cooled off) 2) Oh man, I know exactly how that guy feels.
Maybe tonight you’re the one being silently tolerated, but tomorrow? You might be the sulking circle-member taking issue with the cut of someone else’s jib.
You know the type, because sometimes you’re the type.