Last week has been a weird one for me.
I spent S.A.D. (Singleness Awareness Day) among a handful of fellow hot singles sipping a nice-looking mocktail and chowing on delicious Japanese fusion food in Dozo. My friend had this bright idea that singles should get together and console each other on Couples Day…
Loved the food, didn’t care much for the concept, but hey, always good to meet new people, yes?
However, when I got home and talked to one of my friends on MSN, was surprised on how the conversation turned out. Typical Virgo, he who will now be named Critical Guy because heck, he can indeed put out those critical claws, is somebody I met on a recent houseparty, and whom I’ve been wasting some time chatting on MSN the past 2 weeks.
It went somehow like this — imagine the context is him asking me about my accomplishments in an organization where I am now retired from (I quit a few months ago because of my heavy work and life/load).
“I now know why there are some people don’t like you,” he said. “But I don’t want to tell you because you might get hurt. Don’t kill the messenger…”
“Huh?” I said. “All right fine, since you mentioned it, go ahead. Hit me with it. I promise I won’t get upset.”
“No, that’s okay,” he demurred. “It’s not a big deal really…”
“Well, you already started it,” I replied. “You can’t start telling someone that there are people who don’t like her, and just leave it at that without expounding.”
We ended up talking about this for 1.5 hours till 3:00 am. Silly, I know. But that’s what happened.
It turns out that despite a lot of people who think that I’m cool, there are also some people who dislike me because in Critical Guy’s terms, I’m “stuck up.” In a way, this makes some people feel that I look down on them.
“For example, when people ask your accomplishments,” he started. “You don’t really downplay them. The thing is, in Asian culture, you have to act humble and your achievements are better recognized. It feels like you’re tooting your own horn.”
“I don’t think I purposely do so,” defended I. “If people ask, what did you do in (insert organization name here), shall I say, ‘It was nothing?’ If people ask, what is wrong if you just list down what you did? If they’re so uncomfortable with the answer, then why even ask out of courtesy?”
“In addition, I don’t grandstand in such that I’ll grab whatever mic(rophone) available and announce to the whole world what I’ve done,” I continued. “If you ask, I’ll tell you because I trust you. It really depends who you talk to, you know.”
“Well, for example,” Critical Guy proceeded to give a sample, “Back in Europe, my job allowed me to travel around in various countries. Some people may be jealous when they hear that, so you simply downplay it. They won’t really appreciate that information despite them asking for it.”
“In my limited experience,” I then said. “I’ve realized that you can’t please anybody. There will always be people who will like you, and people who won’t. As I’ve been on the limelight part of my life here, it’s inevitable that there will be your share of critics — such the price you pay for leading an organization.”
Around three years ago when I first started to be an active part of the Taiwan EXPAT community, I was first heavily affected by critics. There were days when I’d be sad and even shed a tear on how mean people can be.
It’s natural to want to be liked. But the thing is, everybody cannot like you. Liking/disliking someone is such a subjective exercise that to want everyone to like you is futile.
So after a while, I came to grips in my insecurities and realized one important lesson — You can’t make everybody like you. Those who like you will be more forgiving, while you can never really do well with those who don’t, so why even try?
Ultimately, this has led me to carry on a nonchalant attitude on people. For example, I’ll only care about what people whom I care about think.
Because they are people who really know and understand you.
Everybody else who look at you from a distance will be quick to judge and pinpoint out your weaknesses. But they do so outside the context, and often with malice.
People who really care about you not only understands who you are, faults and all, but they won’t really think badly of you… because they know the real you. And they’ll be the people whose friendships will last from Taiwan to wherever you’ll be next.
So why bother crying over the opinions of those casual acquaintances who you won’t probably be in touch with in the next few years? Life is too short in problematizing over everybody’s critical opinion. If I was to do that, I won’t even leave the house because I’d be crumpled in bed bawling my eyes out everyday…
But Critical Guy doesn’t get it. “Why are you not even bothered on what your critics think?” he asked. “I think you’re putting on a facade — everybody cares about what others think.”
“Don’t misunderstand me,” I explained. “I care about what others think, and will be affected SO LONG as they’re people I care about. Otherwise, everybody else is fluff. People will always talk. But you should be very sure on who you are, that you know if people criticize you merely out of malice, or because they really care. In this case, I feel these critics are out of malice, so why even care?”
I don’t freaking care about what these people have been saying about me.
If they were really friends, they should have other more important things to do that to speak about others maliciously. The fact that they would talk badly about you — and not even straight at your face — shows the quality of friendship they have for you.
These are the people who don’t have anything better to do than to gather and laugh about somebody on other people’s backs. The fact that I’m on a limelight makes me an easy target. Well, if that’s their thing, good for them… but I won’t succumb and wallow in pain because they dislike me!
But you can’t really win, huh?
We finished the conversation with me thinking whether I should continue my friendship with Guy Critical. It’s a new friendship so I don’t have anything to lose, and people who know me know how much I value my friendship list.
But it’s not everyday that you meet someone who can be totally critical about you. I blame it on him being a Virgo, but it’s not a comfortable feeling when people criticize you.
He could’ve gone on and on pointing out my faults. Sigh.
It is uncomfortable talking to somebody who has good intentions but cannot help but be critical. 🙁
I am not really bothered by what he said, but on why he said it. Am sure that he meant no harm and was just pointing out these faults to help me correct them. Still, it doesn’t make the experience any comfortable, you know…
Oh well, we shall see…
You know what’s funny though?
Last night, I watched “Jumper” with three of the nicest guys ever. I’ve been out with these three men multiple times as they’re my movie buddies. So whenever a new cool movie shows in town, my friend sends me a text message inviting me to go along with them.
After the movie, it’s our bad habit to grab a bite somewhere. Last time, it was at NY Bagels, but this time, it was in All-American fave, Mickey Ds.
So there we were chowing on our unhealthy, fatty cheeseburgers, and our conversation just flowed. There were really a blanket of good feelings that hung over — these were the guys who do like me, think I’m a cool easy to get along girl, and they love hanging out with me.
I only see the contrast on my encounters with Guy Critical.
Why is it that there’s two groups of people — one who cannot find fault in me because they enjoy my company (especially in contrast with all the spoiled ABC women they know), while the others who can’t stop in finding what’s wrong with me?
Maybe it goes back to chemistry — There are some people whom you can just get along flawlessly with, while there are those that require some more effort.
Now, if I can just finally decide whether the friendship with Guy Critical is worth the effort…
Happy New Year everyone. Gotta chow ’cause really going hungry. Just wanted to get this off my chest as to chronicle this weird week so I can read it again in a few months and just laugh it off.
Btw, Jumper is so-so (nice concept, bad plot) while Enchanted is GREAT! I was smiling while I left the theatre. If you haven’t seen it yet, what are you waiting for? GO GO GO!!!
Happy weekend everyone — or whatever’s left on it!