I’m sitting here reading my latest notifications. There are a few new comments on my latest photo. What do they say? Anything interesting? Or just the generic stuff? Oh! Goldmine! I find one that I can deem…inappropriate.
I hit reply and start thinking about all the strategies I could use to point out his error. But then I pause. Do I really need to send this? Do I need to draw attention to him? Should I just employ the strategy of ignoring it and hope that he learns by never getting any feedback?
Or…should I say something and thereby give him feedback? Should I be the one to push him along or should I let him just figure it out for himself?
And who am I to judge what’s appropriate and inappropriate anyway? I mean, I’m just going on the fact that his words invoked a negative reaction in me, so there’s a fair chance that those words could invoke negative reactions in some other people too.
But does he care that his words made me throw up in my mouth a little? Or was that what he was aiming for? I mean, I would think that when someone offers a compliment their intent is that the compliment gets taken nicely…
But that’s the other thing. Does he realize that what he said wasn’t actually a compliment? Does he realize that what he managed to form with his words was not a compliment, but rather a judgment badly dressed as a compliment?
But…would other people see that as a compliment? I mean, it’s inappropriate by my standards, but are there other people out there who would read it and have neutral to positive reactions? There’s got to be some chance of that, right?
Perhaps he knew he was making a risky move. Perhaps he knew there was only a small chance that I wouldn’t be offended by his words. Perhaps he is trying to find those other people: the ones who respond positively to his actions. Maybe this is how they find each other.
Why did I just refer to them as “they”? Am I going to get in trouble for not thinking inclusively enough? Am I going to get yelled at for pointing out our differences? I mean, a difference on it’s own is just an observation, but my intent would be to point out our differences in order to compare them. My intent would be to call him out for not playing the game correctly…
See, I view life like a game. A game I want to win. I don’t know what I’m aiming for, or what the prize is, but I want to win. And it’s not because I’m super competitive or anything like that. I want to win because the point is to win.
And because I want to win, I spend my time figuring out the best plays. I want to figure out the best strategies to succeed as a human. To me, I feel like I’m winning when other people react positively to me.
In contrast, I feel like I’m losing when I make other people react negatively. Whenever I make someone mad, or whenever I hurt someone, or whenever I neglect someone…I feel like I’ve lost half a health bar. I feel depleted.
And of course I imagine other people are playing this game too. Everyone wants to be a better human, therefore everyone wants their actions to provoke positive reactions in other people, therefore I should point out to this guy that his action did NOT provoke a positive reaction in me, thereby prompting him to change his strategy to one with a better success rate.
But then I think, maybe everyone’s not playing this game. Maybe I’m the one trying to hit a basketball with a tennis racket because I don’t know any better and they’re the ones looking at me like I’m…special.
Because sure, I could point out that his strategy isn’t the best for my game, but what if we’re playing different games? Originally I started out thinking he was the one at fault for not playing by the rules, but perhaps I’m the one at fault for not realizing that we’re not even playing the same game!
Or, perhaps I’m thinking about this too much. Perhaps I should delete the comment I’ve started and write this journal instead. Because I still want to win. And right now I feel that writing here versus there is the better strategy.