“You are a pessimist. I don’t like pessimists.”
Whoa! Here I am, having a down day. Working to turn my day around, and cheer myself up, and you hit me with this. I feel I have just been judged, convicted, and condemned by you. You have placed me under a label, one that you tell me you dislike. I am expected to respond now . . . how?
I could ask you what gave you that idea, but I hesitate. Already, you are in a negative frame of mind. Your frame of mind, and my being uncertain about what just happened, could too easily become an argument best avoided.
I could just walk away, I’ve done it before, but I have to work with you. By saying the words to me you just did, you have mentally attached a label to me that will from this time forward affect how you will treat me, how you will react towards me. If I just walk away now that would be like allowing your assumptions, admitting you are right, and saying I am allowing you to treat me in a negative manner.
I could allow myself to get upset, start an argument with you by choice, say something along the lines of, “I am not! where do you get off, thinking you can just pass judgement on another person and labelling people like that?” But it would create tensions, stresses, angst, and waste energy that both of us could put to much, much better use.
So, I choose my response. I look you straight in the eye, cock my head to one side, bat my eyes and smile as I say in a silly-little-girl voice, “Aw, gee, you say the SWEETEST things!” Then I turn away as nonchalantly as possible, and walk blithely away, with hopes that my response had diffused the situation.
I wonder why it was so important, at that precise moment in time, for you to say precisely what you did, the way you did. Perhaps it was nothing to do with me, but was instead your own demons rearing their ugly little heads, in which case I truly hope you can overcome those personal deamons and learn to not take out your life on other people that don’t deserve it.
On the other hand, perhaps while I was dealing with the slush my less-sunny-than-usual-moment had created, while I was working to remember butterflies and sunshine and optimism again on a raincloud kind of day, something in how I had expressed myself had come across in a way that shed a light more negatively than I would want my words to. If such was the case, it’s a pity that your response had not been instead with something along the lines of, “Wow! when you said (insert my words here) it came across in a way that seemed rather pessimistic, and I’d wondered if that had been your intent?” We could have discussed what had been said, what might have been said, and both of us could have learned more efective means by which we could communicate.
If you had said something like, “When I heard you say (insert my words here), it came across as rather pessimistic, and I wondered if you had realized that was how it sounded?” and create a fantastic learning moment for us both, as we would discover more intricacies of verbal communications.
Sadly, instead, you choose words that appear to be labelling me, and let me know that now that you have labelled me thus, you dislike me in the same manner that you dislike any other member of the group you have mentally placed me in.
Humans are considered to be above animals in part because of our ability to communicate intricately on multiple levels. You could have risen to the moment and we could together have explored our humanity, glorified in our intelligence. Instead, you chose derogatory comments intended to belittle another person.