Irrsinn.net: taking joy in human unreason

Saying the right thing to the wrong person.

It dawned on me that for many of us, our lives contain these wrong people who we continue to try to please (but won’t ever) and these fixer-upper situations that just continue to spring leaks as we scramble to patch them. And the point is that the fixer uppers won’t ever be fixed. Some fixer-uppers of course just need a little paint and the odd ant trap. Others are an emotional money pit. The hard part is knowing the difference. (From Krista’s November 3 posting.)

Read the whole thing. The whole damn thing.

Then think about your life. How many times does this type of situation occur? How many times do I work and work harder to make friends with someone who resists seeing me as an equal? How many times do others do the same to me?

Sometimes it manifests as extreme neediness or a demanding nature. Someone always seeming to need something. They walk into a room and immediately demand attention, assistance, and time, without even bothering to ask how your day went. It’s perceived as a sense of entitlement, sometimes. Quite frankly, they can consider themselves entitled to kiss my ass after too much of that.

Sorry, that was tacky.

But how do you know when to cut ties, when you’ve got an “emotional money pit” developing? I mean, I don’t want to go around losing potentially good friends left and right because they demand something of me or piss me off. That’s just dumb. But how much is too much? How much stress and drain should one put up with?

I see two people that I know in a situation where my “emotional money pit” flag is going off. Those involved don’t seem to be able to tell the difference and continue bitching about one another loudly, but I keep my mouth shut because it’s not my situation. It is highly frustrating, though, even for me as a sideliner, and the stress of listening and the stress of everything else in my life makes me want to speak out at (in)appropriate times.

But aside from all of that, this idea is compelling in and of itself: “You can’t say the wrong thing to the right person. You can’t say the right thing to the wrong person.”

  • A

    Great concept. I’ve come across it before actually. A friend of mine in Florida said that to me in the context of the door-to-door ministry. I’ve seen this guy talk passionately about something he believes will make others happier. I was impressed because he got burnt-out mentally from some bad choices as a youth a few years earlier, but he’s improved greatly, at least outlook wise. And you’ve never met a guy so sincere. He’s the kind of person whose sincerity could get you to think he could say the right thing to the wrong person.

    But then I have many lousy days, where I can’t hold a ten second conversation all morning – he could brighten 30 people’s day in half an hour wandering a parking lot (on a day he could get out of bed, but still). So I wonder if I’m a wrong person saying the right thing. Does that even work?

    Not to detract, be a downer, or obfuscate, but this truism has given me a lot of thought, and it’s especially interesting if you reverse it to look at one’s self. The good thing I think is that, perhaps we are not always wrong or right – and that’s hopeful.

  • michelle

    how about you know when you aren’t being getting what you need out of the relationship or vice-versa – you KNOW you are unable to provide the other person what they need out of the relationship – it’s time to let go then…

  • Guy

    That article is basically the truth. You’d be surprised how many people avoid facing facts to avoid lonliness. Coming off a 5 year losing streak I can hardly blame them though.

    On an unrelated note, it was nice to meet you at Rose.

  • Lissa

    Michelle – The problem is optimism, I think. If you think you could provide what the other person needs if you work a little harder at it, branch out a bit, etc., then it’ll be a long, hard road before you finally give up. Likewise with getting what you need out of a relationship. I think people have huge blindspots for those they like (or want to like) and may not acknowledge the full extent of the gap between needs and needs met.

    Guy – So cynical. 🙂 A huge part of it probably is avoiding loneliness, though; humans are social critters, and losing even a faux-friend tends to hurt a bit.

    Oh, and it was awesome to meet you, too. I haven’t laughed that hard in too long…