I have always, for as long as I remember, had trouble discussing things with people.
When I was in my first year of college, my friend Stephan was talking with me and my boyfriend Chris about women in the military. I actually don’t remember what his position was; it had something to do with women being fighter pilots, but I can’t remember if he was for or against.
I honestly hadn’t thought about the issue much. I felt in my gut that what he was saying was wrong, but I couldn’t find any real arguments to back myself up. I got flustered, and finally just ended up walking away from the table. Later, Chris told me that Stephan had said to him, “I couldn’t put up with that.”
That pissed me off, but I knew he was right.
Since that time, I’ve had many other discussions go sour. I always seem to get to a point where I don’t feel like further discussion is going to do anything for me. And the other person’s arguments seem to build up higher and higher, oppressing me. It’s happened with Sam, leading to quite a few fights that fortunately didn’t end our friendship, and it’s happened with AJ, and it’s happened with other people who may not have even realized it was happening, because as I’ve noticed this about myself I’ve tried to hide how touchy I am about my opinions.
But hiding it isn’t working; I just get even more upset.
I always tell myself that the solution is to learn more so that I’m able to discuss my opinions in an informed way. But the majority of my opinions are based on emotion; it feels fake to go and search for facts that justify my feelings.
The better route, I guess, is to mistrust my opinions unless I know a lot about the subject already.
But this doesn’t cover my opinions about entertainment. When people say they don’t like something that I do like, I tend to want that to be the end of the discussion. I don’t want to hear them list all the reasons why they don’t like it, because that feels to me like they are dumping on me. Since my opinions are emotion-based, and entertainment is largely something that speaks to who we are as individuals, it feels almost like a personal attack when someone explains to me in detail why something I like isn’t any good.
This is something I’m going to have to fix about myself.
It’s pointless to get worked up over stuff like this. The other person does not mean to insult me by saying they don’t like what I like. They don’t see in it what I see. They’re not me. I can’t expect them to know how much things mean to me. I can’t ask people to censor themselves to spare my feelings.
I am going to have to change my attitude…if I can only figure out how.