After last Friday’s repost about how much I hate sensitivity, naturally someone sent me a link to a list of “Insensitive, Tactless Things You Shouldn’t Say to Single People.”
Well, I’m going to put the emphasis on tactless, not insensitive. When you’re “insensitive,” the subject runs off into the corner to burst into tears. When you’re tactless, they go home and complain about this idiot woman (or man) in black who said the stupidest thing to them – oh why do people say things like that?
So, this is more about protecting the speaker from inadvertently embarrassing him/herself. You mean well, but you don’t know what to say? Time for a change of subject. Why are you talking about this person’s single status anyway? Unless it’s a late-night pity party with guests, they probably don’t want your take on their situation. And if it is a late-night pity party with guests, you had better have something better up your sleeve than “There are lots of fish in the sea.”
Speaking of the fish in the sea comment – I disagree with the blogger’s assessment that there are lots of lions, tigers, and bears in the sea. Unless she means lionfish, tiger sharks, and, um… bears fishing?
Don’t you hate it when people are sensitive to you? It reminds me of the time in 9th grade when the teacher was always going on about how friendless we all feel in a new school and we should all do a “neck exercise” to turn and look for someone else who needs our friendship.
Well, after that little speech, I viewed any overtures of friendship with suspicion. Why was Ms. Popular suddenly dropping by my desk to say hello? Did she think I had no friends? What a snub!
Sensitivity is like that. People are trying to be nice to you, and all it does is highlight that they perceive an inadequacy in your life. I read a complaint about the “Happy Holidays” greeting. “We all know that it just means ‘Merry Christmas to all of you poor losers who don’t celebrate Christmas’,” the blogger whinged. In other words, once again, sensitivity is taken the wrong way.
Let’s face it: sensitivity is insensitive! Especially when done sensitively. It suggests that you simply aren’t equipped to handle one aspect of your life, and everyone else is required to tiptoe around you to prevent a meltdown.
I believe that the best solution to this is that everyone just stop being sensitive. Usually the other person won’t notice, because they’re not sensitive on the same items as you think they are. And if they are? They’ll just deal with it the way they deal with all the things you’re not sensitive about (like not being sensitive) – by growing a thicker skin.
All these musings, of course, wer inspired by a post inspired by someone being sensitive about my being single. And back then I was only 21.
I was sitting and chatting with a bunch of pregnant women.
Said pregnant women being my MFs, of course. We were yakking about such wonderful bits of nature like morning sickness and stretch marks and I almost said, “Gosh I wish I was pregnant.”
The statement would have been meant to be ironic, considering the the subject matter. But I bit it off at the tip of my tongue because what if they took it to be a hint that I found the conversation insensitive? Or as a piece of self-pity? I was so terrified of this that I choked it back and instead introduced the comparison of shea butter versus cocoa butter.
And a minute later one of the MFs said, “I bet you wish you were pregnant, Bad4.” And everyone laughed.
I heart my friends. Why was I worried?