June 26, 2011

Who Cares?

"Great minds discuss ideas. Average minds discuss events. Small minds discuss people."

- Eleanor Roosevelt

The other day, I posted a link to a story about the passing of the gay marriage bill in New York on my Facebook page. I thought about not doing it. I have a lot of people I love who disagree with my thoughts and feelings on this particular topic, and it was probably unnecessary to post. The last thing I mean to do is put a divide between anyone I love and me. Honestly, I was just surprised that no one else had been posting about it like mad on Facebook, and I thought the news deserved to be shared. I thought about deleting it later so as to avoid any conflict, but my aunt had commented that she was proud of me for posting it.

Tonight, I noticed that someone I am almost certain I was friends with on Facebook is not currently listed as one of my friends. I have a strong feeling this person may have deleted me as a friend once I posted that link. I may very well just be confused; perhaps we were not ever officially friends through Facebook in the first place. I hope that's the case, but I fear that it's not.

I didn't say anything offensive on my post. In fact, I wrote nothing. I merely posted the link to the story. I understand deleting a person if they write things that are personally offensive or call groups names, etc. However, I don't understand deleting someone simply because they have a different viewpoint on something.

Why am I still writing about this, you ask? Well, I suppose I'm writing about this for two reasons. For one, it hurts me that posting that story may have resulted in this person's deleting me as their friend. Secondly, I am troubled by the fact that I let something that insignificant and petty hurt me so much.

I can't believe how often I've let things on Facebook hurt my feelings. One time, an old co-worker played this game on Facebook where you answer yes-or-no questions about people, and he answered "no" to a question asking if he thinks I'm "hot." I really don't care if he thinks I am and certainly don't expect him to, but it hurts that he would answer that. You can skip any questions you don't want to answer, so why would a person answer something hurtful that they know you'll see?

I deleted him as one of my Facebook friends that day. I usually hate having any unresolved issues with anyone in my life, but I felt like his complete disregard for my feelings was the real thing that hurt so much. Why would I want to forgive someone who didn't apologize in the first place? I'm one of those people who would sooner forgive someone than they would even seek forgiveness simply because I want everything to be okay in my world. This was the first time I didn't want to let myself be a doormat.

Still though, I sometimes question whether I was just overreacting and start to get sad that I may have alienated someone and made them dislike me. Why am I so terrified of things not being perfect? Why do I worry so much about any one person's opinion of me? Am I just being self-absorbed?

Again, petty. Such a small, silly thing. So why do I care so much?

All of this makes me realize how difficult it is for me to have people out there who don't like me. I've always been an extreme people-pleaser. As the youngest, I've always tried really hard to impress people and have them think well of me. In turn, I think I'm fairly slow to judge (at least not aloud) and give people many chances. I always prefer to find the good in people and like them rather than point out things I don't like.

All of this makes me realize, though, that there are also times when I say things that are unkind and that, quite frankly, I may not truly even think. I know I'm not perfect and that I can complain or tease or have judgments about other people's actions. However, I often wonder whether I would say half the things I do if I didn't put myself in situations where gossip is growing. I don't know why I ever give in to watering that weed. It has been something I've hated since I was very young. I remember one time in 7th grade when I made an extremely conscious effort to never speak ill of anyone. It was very difficult, but I succeeded for a time. It felt wonderful. Yet, here I am, twice the age I was then, still struggling with the same old thing.

I'm not even writing this because of a specific thing I've done or said recently. It's just more that I was worried at first that I may have done something to offend this person whom I'm worried deleted me because of that post. And it got me thinking how I'd like to be more like I was for that brief period of time 12 years ago so that I'd never have to worry or wonder if I had hurt or offended someone.

It's too bad because sometimes I think I'd be a lot more fun or entertaining if I let myself speak more freely. I'm just always so worried about saying the wrong thing that there is a lot I choose not to say. Hence my starting this blog almost a year ago. I'm getting there, but it's hard to choose what to be genuine about and what to just leave hidden.

If nothing else, writing out this silly stuff has made me feel a little more at ease. Tomorrow is a new day.


  1. I've struggled with this before. I always watched what I said around people, in fear that I would offend them, or hurt their feelings. Blah blah blah. I came to realize that the only real person I was hurting was myself. Obviously there is a time and a place to say certain things, but I honestly don't think you should shelter what is going on in that beautiful head of yours. To put it simply, if you say something that offends someone, or makes them de-friend you on facebook, then they clearly don't know you well enough to know that you don't mean any ill will towards them, and obviously don't deserve to have such a good friend like you. I like to see it as a blessing, it weeds out the people who are too wrapped up in themselves and won't take the time to know Cate for who she truly is, and that, is a huge mistake on their part.

  2. Seriously, every post you write makes me feel like we're the same person. That may sound creepy, but so many things you post about remind me of things I wrote to myself just a few years ago. This especially resonated with me:

    "Why am I so terrified of things not being perfect? Why do I worry so much about any one person's opinion of me?"

    I'm the exact same way - and probably always will be. People say I'm too sensitive, or that I need to get a thick skin, or that I need to not worry so much about anyone's opinion of me...but things like this still bother me. Especially when I sit there and think, "But...I didn't do anything to deserve someone not liking me. I'm a nice person. Right?"

    Odds are, when things like this happen you'll just have to wait it out and know that the burn will fade after time. And, in a way, if people are going to weed themselves out of your life in that way, then perhaps they weren't meant to be there in the first place.

  3. Thank you to both of you! What both of you responded brought a thousand times more comfort than simply writing it out did.