Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Mindreaders...

Have you ever interacted with someone who "reads your mind"?  I put that in quotes because usually these mindreader types are not actually mindreaders.  They are usually just people who project their shit onto you.

I have had many experiences with so-called mindreaders.  In fact, I ran into one just the other day.  While chatting me up on Facebook, this person claimed to know why I do some of the things I do.  In this case, it was someone I've met in person just once.  Somehow, after one in person meeting a year ago and minimal interaction on Facebook, she assumes she knows what I'm thinking.

She wrote this...

You post controversial stuff expect people to disagree with it. You post controversial things all day everyday baiting people. When they do bite you blog about them.

If you don't want people to disagree, then change what you post.


This is a very interesting statement to me.  Let's dissect this, shall we?

"You post controversial stuff."

Seems to me that this is a matter of opinion.  What one person thinks is controversial, another person might not.  I have over 500 Facebook friends, many of whom don't know me personally or even interact with me regularly online.  It's true that some of the things I post could be considered controversial, but I actually post most of them because I think they're interesting, not because I'm expecting people to argue with me.  A lot of times, I don't even post my opinion because I don't want an argument.  I see some of the things I post as more like "food for thought" than "controversial stuff".  I don't enjoy arguing, especially with aggressive people.  I'll do it if I think the issue is important enough; but mainly, I just like to exchange ideas.      

"You post controversial things all day everyday baiting people."

I don't think this is true.  A lot of what I post is nonsensical and silly.  While I don't mind that people comment or express opinions, I wouldn't call that "baiting" people.  I certainly don't post things on Facebook as a specific means of generating specific blog posts, although I will admit that I do often get blog ideas from Facebook.  In fact, I often hesitate before I share posts about religion or politics because I don't actually want to engage people like ...tom... or Papa Smurf... or this former Facebook friend who apparently has the ability to read other peoples' minds and knows what their specific motives are.  I will admit that there are a couple of people on my list that I do occasionally "bait", but they are people who kind of ask for it and annoy me for sport.  I have *never* specifically baited the person who made these comments to me.

Hell, all this time, I thought I was just being myself.  

"When they do bite you blog about them."

This is true.  People who are annoying or offensive to me do often end up as subject matter on my blog.  It's usually because I'm left kind of stunned by their nerve and feel the need to process it.  Maybe if I still had a shrink to talk to, I'd blog less about my interactions with others.  

If you don't want people to disagree, then change what you post.

I really don't think I have a problem with people who disagree with me.  What I do have a problem with are people who can't disagree respectfully and act like they have the right to say or do whatever they want when they are interacting with me.  I am a firm believer that we teach people how to treat us.  If I let someone say and do disrespectful things to me, then I am allowing them to be abusive.  

It's not abusive to disagree with me.  It is abusive to treat me like my opinion is worthless, wrong, or stupid.  It's also abusive to tell another adult what to do, especially in their "own house" or, in this case, on their personal Facebook page.  And, when someone refuses to communicate respectfully and attempts to mindread, I think I have the right to put a stop to the conversation.  

Does this mean I am "baiting" them into an argument?  I don't think so.  Because again, I have no way of knowing what any one of my 500+ friends are going to find controversial.  Even if I was offering "bait" on Facebook, it's your choice as a functioning adult whether or not you want to "take the bait". 

A few years ago, I got into an argument with a different former friend (this one I knew as a child when we were in school) because she posted about Turkish Children's Day.  I noticed that Turkish Children's Day occurs right around the same day as the Armenian Genocide.  I wondered if that date was chosen by design and mentioned it.  She got pissed when I posted that thought on her page, so I deleted my comment and posted on my own page.  This person then came to my page and accused me of "projecting my anger about the Armenian Genocide on the Turkish people."

First off, while I do have a special place in my heart for Armenian people, I can't legitimately say I have "anger" toward the Turks for the Genocide.  No one alive today was involved in the Armenian Genocide, so how could I have *anger* toward Turkish people?  I do think it's a shame that today's Turks won't acknowledge the Genocide, but I wouldn't say that I'm necessarily angry about it.  Having visited Turkey (and having had a marvelous time there), I would say that many Turks simply aren't educated about the Genocide.  I would say most Americans aren't, either.  I knew nothing about it until I lived in Armenia.

When I posted about the coincidence between Turkish Children's Day and Armenian Genocide Day, I thought I was making a simple and somewhat interesting observation that had never occurred to me before.  Somehow this person who hasn't seen me since the 90s and minimally interacts with me online thinks I'm "angry".  Interesting.  I would say I'm much angrier that someone feels entitled to assume they know exactly how I think and what my feelings are than I am about Turkish Children's Day falling near Armenian Genocide Day.

I think there is a difference between guessing why someone feels the way they do and outright stating that one knows for certain why another person has specific feelings.  I can use what I know about someone and employ reasoning to make an educated guess about them.  For instance, "Mary was cheated on by her husband, so that could be why she seems insecure." is more like an educated guess than "Mary was cheated on by her husband and that's why she's insecure."  In the first example, I am hypothesizing.  In the second, I'm making a concrete statement.

I don't think most people like it when others presume to know what they are thinking or feeling.  It's very offensive to assume that you have that much insight into another person's innermost thoughts.  I think it's okay to make an educated guess, but to state outright that you know what's in another person's head is potentially dangerous and probably has more to do with your own tendency to project than the truth.   



2 comments:

  1. It would seem that you have the right to post what you want and to blog about what you want, and that people who have a problem with what you post or with what you blog should perhaps find their reading material elsewhere. Furthermore, even if it doesn't necessarily apply in your case, it would seem to be reasonable for a person to take exception to the tendency of many Turkish people to deny that the Armenian holocaust ever happened. Committing acts of violence against them would be carrying it too far, but if a person chose to have a problem with the denial of a historical event by large segments of a population, such is life.

    I truly adore those mind readers.

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    Replies
    1. Yeah, I do have the right to post what I want, dammit.

      <-- Today is a Friday afternoon fortified by classic rock and beer.

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