Should I try to "understand" what's going on inside rude people?
October 1, 2011 2:21 PM   Subscribe

Should I try to "understand" what's going on inside rude people?

...I'm thinking of a certain type of rude behavior I've experienced a number of times--it's when people express surprise at something positive about you. (E.g., in group at wedding, person says "Jon looks sharp today" with kind of an insecure, put-upon expression on their face. Or co-worker sees picture of girlfriend and says "she's cute" with expression of surprise and general weirdness).

I was teased a lot, and harshly, growing up (and, for what it's worth, diagnosed with PTSD type symptoms), and it's hard for me to see this type of thing very neutrally. Do I process this as person needs to feel superior to everyone around them (so my agenda is to defuse their feeling threatened), or, more what I fear, that they rank everyone and I ranked low, but now they're wondering whether they should reassess (so I can't really take any action other than get away_.

Or, is it more constructive just to frame it as something you can never really know (i.e., their motivations), so just think "this is someone I feel uncomfortable around???
posted by Jon44 to Human Relations (34 answers total) 7 users marked this as a favorite
I don't know if either of your examples are really rude (maybe you are reading into it too much? But I wasn't there for them, so maybe I'm missing something). But either way, I don't see much point in trying to logic rudeness or any other poor behavior. Deal with it by saying something when it is appropriate, otherwise just ignore it and move on.
posted by quodlibet at 2:29 PM on October 1, 2011 [1 favorite]

Personally, I don't see any rudeness but it seems you're highly sensitive to people's expressions. Maybe you can sense something minute but it doesn't help to turn it into a mountain. It's only a hard climb when you go that route.
posted by InterestedInKnowing at 2:32 PM on October 1, 2011 [1 favorite]

When people act that way it is because they are unhappy with their life. When they see someone who they consider to be 'in the same league' as them catch a break, or make visible progress in their life somehow, the first reaction is to diminish their accomplishment.

Say I'm that guy (unfortunately, I probably have been.) I see you looking great one day, I realize that I don't look as noticeably great as you. The feeling I have masquerades as jealousy, but is really self-dissatisfaction. I feel I should be making the kind of progress you are, but I can't or won't for some reason.

I don't want to feel that dissatisfaction with myself. I don't want to confront the fact that I am not making similar progress. I feel bad or guilty because I haven't done the same for myself. So, not wanting to feel those things, I enter a state of denial. Nothing's wrong with ME---you must just have come across your new good thing by accident or your gains are ill-gotten.

Of course that doesn't stand up to reasoning at all. But denial is powerful.

When people act that way, it's because they are unhappy. Not all people who have those feelings are bad people, they just don't have a line on their anxiety reactions.

I think it is important to keep in mind what they are feeling. But that is not equivalent to saying you should tolerate rudeness.

Everyone comes to these personal and interpersonal wisdoms at their own pace. Some of us start late, because no one helped us and we couldn't figure it out on our own.
posted by TheRedArmy at 2:37 PM on October 1, 2011 [19 favorites]

Or, is it more constructive just to frame it as something you can never really know (i.e., their motivations), so just think "this is someone I feel uncomfortable around???

This is the more accurate interpretation, because you *truly can't* know their motivations. (Are they insecure about themselves? Are they trying to rank me with others? Am I not good enough for them or perhaps I'm too good? ad infinitum..)

Pretending that you can know what others are thinking just causes yourself pain because you're pre-inclined to assume the worst. You don't want to cause yourself more pain than is absolutely necessary. Imagining up more pain for yourself is not a good idea.
posted by bleep at 2:38 PM on October 1, 2011 [2 favorites]

Or, is it more constructive just to frame it as something you can never really know (i.e., their motivations), so just think "this is someone I feel uncomfortable around???
That's what I generally try to do, for two reasons. First of all, I'm aware that I'm insecure and tend to project my insecurities onto other people, so I can never really be sure whether they did mean it the way I'm hearing it. And second of all, it's typically pretty trivial stuff. Why do I care whether they're surprised that I look good or that my SO is cute? Seriously: who cares about the opinions of people who I don't know very well or like very much? It's not worth wasting my emotional energy on it.
posted by craichead at 2:41 PM on October 1, 2011 [5 favorites]

I was teased a lot, and harshly, growing up... and it's hard for me to see this type of thing very neutrally.

I understand where you're coming from here. I think you do not, and should not, need to concern yourself with the innermost thoughts of these people. In both your examples, it sounds like they had a (negative) opinion of you, and then some (positive) fact about you conflicted with that opinion, so rather than admit (to themselves) that they were wrong, they made a veiled rude comment instead. You do not need to care what people like this think of you. I know it's often said that you should never care what others think of you, and I think that's sort of crap. Anyone who claims they never care what anyone thinks of them is probably not being entirely truthful. But this kind of person, who'd make that sort of comment at you? They don't matter AT ALL. They can safely be ignored and either forgotten, or mined in the future for funny stories to tell about rude people. Totally not worth analyzing. I know that's probably easier said than done, but it gets much much easier over time.
posted by DestinationUnknown at 2:41 PM on October 1, 2011 [2 favorites]

At the end of the day, how much other people and things upset you is a decision you make, and something that is in your control.

So take control. If you agonise about trying to "process" other people's behaviour, you will receive stress - especially if you're also dealing with something like PTSD. So maybe it would be better not to try to process it at all. Just work on ignoring it - and the person, if necessary.
posted by Decani at 2:43 PM on October 1, 2011 [2 favorites]

To be honest, it sounds like you're projecting your own negative attitudes about yourself onto others. This is a self-perpetuating cycle.
posted by Sticherbeast at 2:45 PM on October 1, 2011 [16 favorites]

I understand where you're coming from. I have a similar background, PTSD as a result of years of bullying. I think this type of "compliment" is passive-aggressive. They can't be called out on their behavior because their words--without taking into consideration their body language, tone of voice or affect--cannot be construed as an insult, even though they really are, in intent. My way of dealing with this behavior is to look them directly in the eye, smile broadly, and say with slightly exaggerated enthusiasm, "Thank you so much!" Invariably, they cannot meet my eye, and they get the message. In other words, learn to speak their passive-aggressive language. If you're misinterpreting and the comment was sincere, no harm, no foul, as you've just thanked them for the compliment.
posted by ljshapiro at 2:51 PM on October 1, 2011 [1 favorite]

Whenever I'm not sure of someone's motives in similar situations, I remind myself that:
What other people think of me is none of my business.
It's a useful mantra - try it, smile and move on.
posted by dirm at 3:00 PM on October 1, 2011 [9 favorites]

Should I try to "understand" what's going on inside rude people?

No. What's going on inside them is none of your business, plus it's 100% outside of your control. I highly recommend you read The Four Agreements to help you get a handle on this. It's a little woo-y, especially in the beginning, but it has some great tools you can use in your life immediately.

(on preview, seconding drim)
posted by pupstocks at 3:01 PM on October 1, 2011

You can also smile at the person, look him/her in the eye, and say "Wow! Don't sound so surprised!" then quickly change the subject, asking that person something about him/herself before s/he can make a thing of it. Make it light; you end up sounding self-deprecating without actually being so, and call them out without being aggressive if there is anything to their behavior.
posted by medea42 at 3:17 PM on October 1, 2011 [1 favorite]

I'm generally a very paranoid person, but in these situations, I totally get what's going on:

I do indeed look sharp, and they are merely pointing out that they've noticed.

It's not a negative comment on my usual appearance; it's at worst a neutral comment on my current gussied-up-to-the-nines condition, relative to my usual casual look, which is no worse than any one else's usual casual look. It's not, Whoa, what the fuck, uggo done prettied up!?, but simply, "You are wearing a tie, and you look good in it."

It's not rude. It's a compliment. Take it.

Another thing they are doing is fishing for compliments. They want you to reciprocate. Do.
posted by Sys Rq at 3:22 PM on October 1, 2011 [4 favorites]

I have a different understanding of this. Where I come from, this is one of the standard (and probably by far the most annoying) way of complimenting someone, especially by people who are not very good at this kind of thing. To me, it seems to be a way of paying a compliment without entirely assuming responsibility for it; for some reason, a lot of people seem to think that paying a straight-forward compliment shows too much vulnerability and is something to be vaguely ashamed of.

I believe this kind of "positive" interaction" is derived from communicating with children - you know how most adults adopt that fake-astonished complimentary tone of voice when kiddie recites a poem, shows off a drawing, has a new dress/new trousers on, sports a new hair-cut etc? You get the tone of voice, the exaggeration of the facial expression, of the qualities they are about to extoll, etc - just have a look at adults complimenting children. This gets then transplanted into adult communication, and, in my experience, on the whole to express a positive sentiment, without totally owning it (as in - rather than telling you with a straight face that you look smashing today, I'll adopt that kind of adult-talkig-to-kid tone/demeanor to say basically the same, but with overtones which allow me to save face, or be less embarassed about introducing compliments in our interaction etc).

More often than not, when it isn't done jokingly, I find it quite patronising - especially when the complimentee, as it were, is a young adult, and the complimenter is someone more advanced in years. It seems that it is intended to introduce a power-relationship akin to that between adult and child - and in which you are the child - thus redressing the loss of power the complimenter experiences by paying the compliment in the first place.

Still, even though it is quite annoying, I think mostly it comes from a good place, with some exceptions which are pure passive-aggressiveness, as ljshapiro mentioned. Knowing the people pauing you the compliment, you can probably discern which it is. If it is a passive-aggressive back-handed compliment, I personally would side-line those people - it's too annoying. If you know the people who do this quite closely, you could ask them to stop and just tell you in a normal fashion what they want to say. And, if they won't, turn it back on them (I;ve done this with a few of my more ardent complimenters, who all immediatly reacted to my "catiness", but who also stopped doing it as soon as I explained that it was only an immitation of their own method).
posted by miorita at 3:23 PM on October 1, 2011 [5 favorites]

What you're picking up on, and participating in, is the hierarchical rankings that humans do *all the time.* It's the basis of much drama and comedy and angst.

You think others are "doing it to you," which is partly true. It's also true that you are doing it to yourself - trying to figure out where you stand vis a vis others, and projecting your status all the time. There's a book on improvisational theatre that can tell you all about how to see it and how to have fun messing around with it.

If you don't want to play with it, you can just opt out. When you get the give that someone is trying to set their status as higher than you, just think to yourself, "hmm, how interesting - I see what he's doing there," but don't get wrapped up in whether its true or what it means or whether the person is a jerk or not.
posted by jasper411 at 3:28 PM on October 1, 2011 [5 favorites]

What you're describing as weirdness sounds more like awkwardness. The only thing you should try to "understand" about these people is that something vague like an "expression of general weirdness" doesn't mean their compliments have ulterior motives.
posted by vanitas at 3:49 PM on October 1, 2011 [2 favorites]

You say that you have a hard time seeing this neutrally and then go on to describe the different theories you have for why they are so insecure as to treat you this way, but you don't seem to be entertaining the possibility that you're misreading people yourself.

Fwiw, when I put in the effort to get all prettied up, people have never seen me in anything but jeans and moldy sneakers raise their eyebrows when I walk into the room and comment on it. I don't take it as an expression of their insecurity or jealousy or whatever, because I'm pretty sure I would never venture out into public again if I did that much analyzing in social situations. Not all compliments are backhanded. Obviously I haven't been in your shoes or experienced these people's expressions, but either way I don't think worrying about what they meant by it is going to get you very far.
posted by geegollygosh at 4:21 PM on October 1, 2011 [2 favorites]

My own experiences with bullying and resultant PTSD are similar to yours, and I am also especially sensitive to this kind of rudeness, I think because we recognize a sort of bullying inhale, where a person is exhibiting just-below-the-surface bullying behavior. If you are in therapy for this stuff already, have you considered bringing up your hypervigilance to your therapist? He or she may have some strategies for you.

I personally never had good results trying to "understand" my bullies, though I knew intellectually that they acted that way because at some point, they learned that it got them what they wanted. It's just not in me to seek out compassion in myself in regard to bullies. But I did learn, through enough exposure, to recognize what I was seeing. As a result, when someone raises my hackles now, I can think, "This has to do with their issues, not mine," and still feel safe.
posted by juniperesque at 4:22 PM on October 1, 2011

As a rule of thumb, if you are not highly confident that you know what's going on in someone's head and that they intend to be rude, it's probably best to assume the most positive interpretation of their intent. In the examples you cite, I would absolutely take the comments as compliments and not as rudeness.

If you are suffering from PTSD, there is a significant chance that you may be primed to detect ill intent where none exists.

"in group at wedding, person says "Jon looks sharp today" with kind of an insecure, put-upon expression on their face."

I have a hard time processing this as being rude. Even assuming your perception of the "insecure, put-upon expression" is correct, that doesn't mean the comment or the intention is rude. The person could be thinking "Wow, we're supposed to dress up that sharply? Shit, I should have worn something nicer" or "What a day! I wonder if Charlene is going to be mad when I tell her about what happened last night. It wasn't my fault. Oh, there's Jon. He looks good. I should say something complimentary." Even if you are correctly picking up some undercurrent of ill will towards you personally, that doesn't make the comment rude. They could be thinking "There's Jon. I bet he doesn't remember that I loaned him 20 bucks last month and he hasn't paid me back. Never mind - this isn't the time to get into that. Say something nice and move on."

Mind you, there certainly are situations where people deliver back-handed compliments that are not meant to be positive. If you aren't certain of the intent, consider this little breakdown of the possibilities:

1) Speaker means to be complimentary, you take it as a compliment. Everyone is happy.
2) Speaker means to be insulting, you take it as a compliment. You're happy. They're annoyed because the barb didn't get through.
3) Speaker means to be complimentary, you take it as an insult. You're mad and now the other person is mad because they tried to be nice and you threw it back in their face.
4) Speaker means to be insulting, you take it as an insult. You're mad. They're happy because they got a rise from you.

Personally, I prefer to go with options 1 & 2.
posted by tdismukes at 4:25 PM on October 1, 2011 [30 favorites]

E.g., in group at wedding, person says "Jon looks sharp today" with kind of an insecure, put-upon expression on their face.

Are you sure you're reading this right? There have been times, when I've been around guys I find attractive, that I'm sure I've had weird and awkward facial expressions, or spoken in weird and awkward tones, even when I've been trying to compliment him or flirt.

I don't know, man. I think in these situations, I would give people the benefit of the doubt that you're misreading them, unless/until it becomes more overt.
posted by Ashley801 at 4:30 PM on October 1, 2011 [2 favorites]

I can be pretty sensitive to this stuff too because my mother constantly does this. I realize it's mostly because she's quite unhappy and insecure with herself. It's really icky being around her when she does this about other people, and quite frustrating when she directs it at me. She can make a comment like "Your eyebrows look nice" sound like a total shame-inducing noncompliment. It's quite remarkable.

The way I deal with her and people like that is to just understand they are very insecure and unhappy, and that doesn't reflect on me truly. Oh and creating lots of boundaries and distance helps a ton. It's ok to set boundaries with people who make you uncomfortable. For me this only applies to people who have shown a pattern of doing this. Sometimes you'll meet new people who do this and it's important to take it with a grain of salt at first and not immediately assume the worst in them. Sometimes people have bad days and say stupid stuff and could use the benefit of the doubt.
posted by side effect at 4:34 PM on October 1, 2011

It's interesting that there's a bit of a dichotomy in responses. Perhaps those of us who have been bullied have extra sensitive antenae?

To further clarify...the tone I'm trying to get out is partly snide, partly resentful and surprised. May-be "rude" is a bit harsh, but it's clearly awkward and when someone's making direct eye contact, it's hard to imagine I'm completely misreading it...

In terms of intent, I guess I'd go with just weird, as opposed to ill-intended. Another example--a rivalrous guys snidely says "Jon had a good race" after I beat him in a xc ski race--maybe he doesn't have ill-intent, but it's not positive intent either (i.e., it's not "great job, you sure skied that course better than me today!") And I guess I apply this same sort of "squaring-off" / sort of bullying interpretation to other situations where there's similar awkwardness.
posted by Jon44 at 5:08 PM on October 1, 2011

it's hard to imagine I'm completely misreading it...

I dunno, so far all the examples you've given of "rudeness" are people complimenting you. Are there times when people compliment you and you don't think they're actually being sarcastic?
posted by neroli at 5:19 PM on October 1, 2011 [2 favorites]

It's interesting that there's a bit of a dichotomy in responses. Perhaps those of us who have been bullied have extra sensitive antenae?

For whatever it's worth, I was bullied quite a bit as an adolescent and also by one of my parents, and I still think it's hard to tell here whether or not you're misreading/projecting in these situations.
posted by Ashley801 at 5:27 PM on October 1, 2011

-a rivalrous guys snidely says "Jon had a good race" after I beat him in a xc ski race--maybe he doesn't have ill-intent, but it's not positive intent either (i.e., it's not "great job, you sure skied that course better than me today!"

It depends whether he's saying it snidely or not, which you can infer by tone,history, and body language. "jon had a good race" is just the way people congratulate you. You want someone to congratulate you and tell you you did a great job? That's what your mother's for.

And even then, "great job!" can be seen as patronizing-- it's like what you tell a dog before giving him a treat.

"deanc is looking sharp today" can be taken sort of snidely, but that's because for the most part, I'm a slob until there comes a time when I put on a nice-fitting suit and tie. I believe the last time someone said something like that to me, my reply was, "That's why it's called your 'Sunday best' not your 'Sunday pretty good.'"
posted by deanc at 5:27 PM on October 1, 2011 [1 favorite]

Another example--a rivalrous guys snidely says "Jon had a good race" after I beat him in a xc ski race

At worst, that's a guy who isn't the greatest loser, which has nothing to do with you or anybody else he's ever raced against. In the other cases, I wonder whether the competition idea could be coming from you. Do you yourself think that if you're dressed better than the other person or have a nice-looking girlfriend, you're (temporarily?) one up on them?
posted by Adventurer at 5:34 PM on October 1, 2011

Is it really worth your time trying to figure out when person X is saying something nasty, when person X isn't brave enough to come out and be nasty? For me, someone who goes around dropping passive-aggressive bouquets goes in the "I don't care what they thing" bin.

So to answer your question, No, you shouldn't bother trying to understand them.
posted by benito.strauss at 5:37 PM on October 1, 2011

I have noticed that people with your kind of PTSD are constantly on the look out for when they've been slighted or not taken seriously. And while I understand it, ultimately it's not productive-- people are either going to slight you or not, or like you or not. People make sort of passive aggressive comments because they can't engage in public aggression, which is, honestly, a good thing. When you start getting openly pissed off at someone's snide passive aggressiveness, you end up looking like the bad guy. A "Thank you so much!" with the implied, "I see what you did there," is more than enough.
posted by deanc at 5:44 PM on October 1, 2011 [3 favorites]

I think it's not really about you in most of the examples you're giving. Both of the original examples are about physical attractiveness, which I notice is something that often has a certain amount of awkward/weirdness around it. If it's actually blatantly sarcastic that's a different thing, but if you actually are looking sharp - and s/he says you're looking sharp - then the surprised tone of voice is probably just a way to say 'not that I usually spend any time thinking about how Jon looks!' (also where the weird/insecure vibes are coming from - crap, what if he thinks I'm checking him out?). Similarly with the girlfriend - exaggerated surprise is a way of emphasizing that she's so cute you couldn't help but notice, with a certain not-that-I'm-checking-out-Jon's-girlfriend vibe. It's a certain amount of playing games but only because we don't really separate physical attractiveness from sexual attractiveness (in the US and some other cultures - I know in some places of e.g. Europe it's much more normal for men to comment on each other's appearance).

As far as the race - I agree with Deanc here. "Jon had a great race" is the GOOD compliment! It's usually what's put out there as the ideal alternative to the actual bad-loser comment which is "I really screwed up and would have won if I'd just been better".
posted by Lady Li at 7:30 PM on October 1, 2011

The bad news is that you have PTSD from people treating you abusively. That's awful, and I hope that you're getting help. The good news is that when you perceive others as being abusive in their interactions with you? You already know that you have PTSD from people treating you abusively, and you know you can't trust your instincts! All of the comments you've reported are compliments. Could they be backhanded compliments? Sure. But given that you and I both know that you have PTSD from people treating you abusively, it's much more likely that the compliments were straightforward. "Looking sharp" specifically refers to how you are dressed. Were you more dressed up than usual? It was a compliment. A surprised "cute!" about your S.O.? The surprised tone / facial expression is how people indicate "cute". (The alternative, saying "cute" with a flat, "meh" affect would be more of a damning with faint praise). Work on your known issues with therapy, etc., and when you get compliments, take them. The idea that everyone is simultaneously contemptuous AND envious is kind of nonsensical and definitely miserable. I'm sure that with help, you don't have to live that way.
posted by moxiedoll at 8:38 PM on October 1, 2011 [1 favorite]

When I was in Cotillion (manners, social graces, ballroom dance) we were taught to always have a sincere compliment at the ready for if and when we had occasion to speak with someone. Subsequently, I pretty much compliment everyone I talk to, and mean it. A side effect of this is that sometimes I come off as insincere, and sometimes, when I'm extra-excited about the compliment, I sound surprised when I'm just trying to convey a higher level of enthusiasm or sincerity.
I also have the super highly tuned bully/criticism antenna up all the time, which can lead to a pretty frustrating feedback loop in my head.
Just another datapoint, if it helps.
posted by ApathyGirl at 10:54 PM on October 1, 2011 [1 favorite]

Humans are social creatures, with pecking order/hierarchies. What people think about us matters, to some extent. However, the examples you gave are ambiguous. I recommend you try to assume good will on the part of the speaker. If somebody says "You look sharp," say "Thank you," and if somebody says your cute gf is cute, say "I agree." If they intended insincerity, a sincere response may annoy them. And if, as is very possible, they are sincere, then it's win-win.

The problem is knowing how to recognize and when to deflect the genuine "squaring-off" / sort of bullying instances. Try to err on the side of assuming good will. However, over time, certain individuals will stand out, and you can start paying attention to their words, inflection and body language to see if they're authentic. If they're jerks, the best advice is to avoid these people. But that's not always possible. Read up on assertiveness. It will be woman-centric, but still valuable. It will also help to dress a little better, because people respond to your cues, and to be physically fit, because when you feel physically strong, it helps your mental strength.

I grew up with criticism, mean teasing, etc., and I empathize with your troubles. It's hard to learn that you have value and deserve respect, if you were taught otherwise. I find affirmations helpful, and there's some evidence to support that.
posted by theora55 at 4:59 AM on October 2, 2011 [3 favorites]

I have a friend (otherwise wonderful) who does this to a degree that others give her flabbergasted offended looks when she does it. Beat I can tell, she gets it straight from her (totally bitchy and well known as such) mother. It's why I try to overlook it, because I can tell she kind of can't help it; she complains all the time even abput how awful her mother is like this while being completely unaware it rubs off uncontrollably on her. I know my parents' worst social foibles, ones I cringe at every time, I make almost uncontrollably at times too, like a tic. Very frustrating, very human. As for the initial root cause--with the friend's mom it's well established behind the polished icy-mean facade she is ragingly insecure (long story there having to do with failed romantic relationships, etc.). It's a way to make herself think she feels better about herself relative to others.
posted by ifjuly at 9:38 AM on October 2, 2011 [1 favorite]

This question hurts in a weird way. I know exactly what you're talking about, and like most of us, I suppose, I've stood there quietly frozen as my mind raced through whether I was being attacked or complimented or maybe not-so-subtly taken down a peg for some reason beyond my immediate ken.

But I also know that I myself have said things that have been taken as weird or rude or offensive to other people. And I've sometimes been equally frozen as I watched some unguarded, unvarnished, off-the-cuff phrasing of mine fly forth, hit the person I'm talking to and sink to some terrible dark place where it crumples some little part of their soul. Oftentimes this takes place in a situation where it would be highly socially inappropriate or downright control-freaky to stop everything and explain myself at length, or scream, as I'd sometimes wish to: "STOP! STOP THAT FROM CRUSHING WHATEVER IT JUST CRUSHED! I ABSOLUTELY DID NOT MEAN IT THAT WAY!" And so, years later, I can still immediately recall watching some trifling thing I said hitting another person, sinking in deep and imploding some secret part of them, and knowing that I hit some terrible button of theirs that I was not remotely aiming for. So your question here refreshes my constant, deep-seated horror of how terribly easy and completely commonplace it is for people to misunderstand each other and simply assume the absolute worst. That is a terrible, immensely sad thing.

So my advice here, to myself and to you: let this stuff go. Speaking as an introverted, introspective and sensitive person that truly does give a shit if I hurt other people, I'm painfully aware that I just cannot always scrape together the enomorous energy and mental acuity it can sometimes take to think three steps ahead in every conversation or comment, and I thus wind up delivering a perceived slight that was sincerely just a case of me saying something without considering all the ways the other person might interpret it. Literally zero malicious intent, all gone to shit. And I definitely can't imagine that I'm the only one in that crappy boat. A whole lot of us are trying really hard not to shit all over other people. But we're not perfect. And there definitely are times when this type of crap really is someone trying to stick it to you in the most undermining and backhanded of ways. That definitely happens. But I truly believe that the best we can do as human beings is to give people the benefit of the doubt until they prove to us that they don't deserve it. It's just too fucking hard otherwise.
posted by involution at 7:49 PM on October 2, 2011 [10 favorites]

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