Thursday, February 12, 2004
Well, I was talking with a friend over AIM last night, and she was asking me about a guy she liked, and what to do. Eventually, we both decided that the problem might be that he, being older than she, might simply view her as being to young and uninteresting to be worth his time. We both also agreed that she sometimes comes across as abrupt to the point of rudeness, though she doesn't mean to be. She asked me to go on, and I unfortunately did, telling her that while she's very smart and fun, the way she acts makes it seem as though, on first impression, that she's not. I went on to say that it was only after that I'd sat down and talked with her that I realized that she wasn't as she had seemed. From there, she began accusing me of calling her stupid and being a jerk for judging people without really knowing them. My protestations that I never called her stupid and that I changed my view once I realized I was wrong were ignored, and she went on to say that she hated my guts for being very judgemental.
A few minutes later, I was talking with another friend and he told me that I come across as being hypocritical and fake for refusing to drink around people who aren't yet of legal age. Apparently, since they know I drink when not around them, they're offended that I won't drink with them.
These charges really hurt me. I had thought that I was being considerate by not drinking around younger people, as I wasn't encouraging them to do something that I wouldn't and didn't do (drink while underaged), and at the same time never criticized any of them for drinking while underaged (I've confronted two underaged friends for drinking because it was getting to be a problem, but that's different). Of course, some people also thought that I was being a jerk for not drinking while underaged when everyone else around me was. That I only said why I didn't drink (I try not to break the law) when specifically asked appears to not have made any difference. Meanwhile, I acknowledge that I can sometimes be judgemental, but I've tried very hard to make sure that I only judged actions as being good or bad, and that if I was judging people, it wasn't their souls but only an evaluation of their personality or physical traits. Let me explain that last part: I tend to adapt the way I behave so as to try and make others feel comfortable; I'll talk sports with some friends and philosophy/theology with others, I'll use a different vocabulary when dealing with little kids and with my parents, I'll sometimes unconsciously change my accent when I'm dealing with people from different regions, etc. I also am reasonably good at looking at a person's physical features and guessing roughly where they're from (people of Asian descent are usually pleasantly amazed that I can usually tell the difference between people from Vietnam, China, Korea, and Japan).
The things I've stated have at least been what I've attempted to do. I've either failed miserably at communicating how I think, or I'm communicating perfectly but have made negative progress on achieving my goals. It's possible that the charges against me are perfectly true, and it's also possible that I'm totally innocent and am merely being persecuted. I'm reasonably sure that it's somewhere in the middle, but I don't know where. With the accusation of being judgemental came the assertion that it was astounding that someone who claimed to be a Christian could think the way that I do. I've been thinking about this a lot, and I still don't know if I'm truly in the wrong, am merely guilty of poor communication, or what. Comments by anyone who knows me reasonably well would, of course, be appreciated so I can work on resolving this.
I have to say that it's things like this which are the most frustrating. I often fail in my attempts to do certain things, and I can usually tie those to not trusting God by either wanting the wrong thing or going about it the wrong way. What gets me is when I try to do things that I'm sure are in accordance with God's will, acting on Christian motives, and still fail. Basically, the thought that runs through my head is "Lord, I'm trying to become, with your help and guidance, the person you've said you want. Why isn't it working?" Answers don't often or usually come immediately. Sometimes it's that I've overlooked some key element and have been going about it all wrong, and sometimes it's just that the rain falls on the righteous and the wicked alike. Still, it's frustrating and it hurts pretty badly.