2008-10-14

Because I Care

Back-handed compliments undo me.
Are people dumb or are they cruel?
This is really starting to add up for me, to be honest and I've actually lost friends over it. Last, that is, if deciding to stop speaking to them counts as losing friends.

But at a certain point, I can't tolerate people saying things to me that are off-kilter or down-right mean.

I believe that some back-handed compliments are expressly designed to be snarky, to hurt you in a way that makes you bleed a drop of self-doubt onto your consciousness. These little comments come off to me as power-plays. They are the person telling me that she (usually) has something up on me and that she, out of the goodness of her heart, is going to tell me the Truth.

Really, all that person is doing is putting me in a corner that I can't gracefully exit. The only options are to be defensive, to attack back more directly, or to thank the person for the Honesty. No matter how much sarcasm I frost onto my gratitude, it always seems like the person doesn't get it and feels even more empowered to take the time to tell me more of "what I need to hear."

"I'm your friend and I want to tell you this. Because I care."

That's when I brace to hear things like, "You know, your brows looks great except for that edges right here (reaches up to touch by eyebrows) and right here. Just take out a little more and they will be stunning! I would want you to tell me!"

"Yes, you were really large in the ass area when we started! Now you look so much smaller - you're still big but you're almost there!"
Sidenote: The girl who said that to me? Is the same weight as me. For serious. Exactly the same.

"I love that picture - hey, I used this pre-foundation to help with looking oily! It's $28 and well-worth the investment. You should try it!"

I shit you not, these are real, actual, honest-to-god conversations that have each and every one left me so stunned that the person would say these things to me that I have no response at all.

Needless to say, I'm deleting her from my Trusted Peoples List.

The death blow came via email. There are some contentious things going on in my league and I am a vocal person.

I got an email from my friend, who, because she cares so much about me, just wanted to take the time to tell me that I am two-faced and a liar.
Essentially.

If I have a friend and I am concerned with how she looks to her other friends, or why she might feel one way or the other on a topic, I'm going to ASK her what's going on. I'm not going to tell her that I think she has a problem and if I did, I sure wouldn't do it under the guise of friendship and sisterhood.

It hurt, you know?
It put me in that cornered place where there is no response. There's no way to respond without causing more issue. I can defend myself which I honestly hate doing because I hate it from other people; I can attack her back and tell her I'm sick of her incorrect use of $.50 words; I can ignore her but she then persists to get a response out of me; or, I can do what I did and call her out on her behavior.

Needless to say, that was a hell of a fight and we're not friends anymore.

It's a loss but.... then I think about all the other times she's told me things because she cares and I think to myself that that's not how I want to be cared for.

But now I'm sensitive to back-handed compliments.

On Facebook, a dude from Jr. High said, "Good to see you're taking care of yourself."

As opposed to what?
Like, was I not taking care of myself the last time we ran into each other while I was in GRAD SCHOOL?

What does that mean? "Good to see you're taking care of yourself."
It implies that I wouldn't be taking care of myself, or that I didn't or that.... it's somehow surprising that I am capable of taking care of myself because I was such a fuck-up when I was 12. Which... I wasn't at all a fuck-up at age 12. Although, to be fair, there was some lascivious behavior in the parking lot of a Steak-and-Shake with him once night when we were well into our twenties and had been drinking for, oh I dunno, 14 hours or so. He was the other consenting adult on the scene so perhaps it's I who should be glad to see he's taking care of himself!

I know that most people donít mean things the way they sometimes speak them and that I am sensitive to things right now because of my former friend and her recent attempt at helpful counseling. This is classic Ė she actually told me that I might need to take some time for self-reflection.

Yeah, and the Pope might want to think about going to church.

True to form, itís taken me awhile to really accept how upset she made me and how hurtful she was but, also true to form, I got it and it wonít be excused.

arizonasarah at 11:59 a.m.

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