Explain Yourself

Honestly, I don’t understand it.  “It” being you and your personality quirk, of course.

I would prefer to have this conversation with you instead of one-sidedly ranting at a blog that I am quite certain you don’t read, but you have a tendency to shut me down and refuse to listen to anything that comes out of your, much less my, mouth.  So the blog gets to hear it instead.

You are a really cool person.  You have a great sense of humor.  You are charismatic and kind and generous and intelligent.  Your interests are unique and you are passionate about them in a fun way and you are, as far as I can tell, a good person.  I  enjoy spending time with you and I know other people do as well.

What I don’t understand is that despite everything that you have going for you, you are an adult child.  You are edging ever closer to the big three-oh, but you may as well be three.  Not in all ways, of course.  You are in what looks like a serious long-term relationship.  You are getting a college degree.  You are involved in your community in a productive way.  I am not calling you a bum.  Your life is fully functional.

What I’m trying to say is that on the outside you seem like an adult, which makes the child I accidentally discovered in you all the more jarring.

Let’s talk about how this started.

We were hanging out and you told me that you were about to make one of the biggest mistakes of your life by asking your girlfriend to marry you.  Those are your words, not mine, and you prefaced that statement with a comment about how the two of you are going through a rough patch right now.

I want to qualify, again, as I have repeatedly tried to do in our actual conversations, that I recognize that you and I don’t know each other really well.  We’ve hung out several times and had fun, meaningless conversations tinged with depth and that is it.  I recognize that.  I also, however, have never seen friendships as stagnant entities, so I naturally figured that we were testing the waters of a new kind of friendship (ie we talk about the serious parts of our lives amidst our goofiness) when you brought up your impending marriage proposal.

I’ve had friendships that have developed that far or further after a day of good conversation, so the fact that we had gotten there after hanging out five or six times was not surprising or strange to me in any way.

But it was to you.  I asked what made you want to propose when your relationship was not going well, if maybe you ought to figure out what the problem was and then propose when things were solid again so no important issues accidentally got glossed over in the excitement of engagement.

You told me I didn’t know you.

I agreed.

I maintained that the question was a valid one, though, especially since I was asking questions, not making judgments.  You painted pictures with words, all of them comedic, witty, so colorful that they barely made sense and extravagantly laced with ad hominem.  My personal favorite was the one wherein you told me that I was like an amateur animal enthusiast who walks into a zoo and tries to tell the lion how to be a lion.

But there was no laughter in anything you said.  You told me I was a shitty person who had no business taking interest in your business, but you refused to say so straightforwardly.  You refused to listen to anything that I had to say in response and blazed boldly forth on the trail of verbal abuse.

After what was probably a half hour of this verbal abuse I asked you if you realized you were being a douchebag.  (I could have chosen my words better, and I apologize for not doing that.)

You said yes.  You smiled.

I left.

I saw you again today after a little over a week.  We had talked on the phone and we had no issues.  It was an energetic conversation and I planned to meet you near your home so I could return something that you had lent me.  I biked over.  I returned your possession.  We chatted for a little bit and you made a crack that was more of a barb about how I had called you a douchebag the last time we had hung out.  Before I could apologize you plowed on through to your next sentence, saying that you’d called yourself a douchebag, so it really wasn’t that big of a deal anyways.

But you looked hurt, even as you continued to fill the air with haphazard sentences that made it impossible for me to say anything.  I managed to ask if we needed to talk about the conversation you had alluded to.  You told me you were doing everything in your conversational power to avoid it, which was odd because it was the only thing you were talking about.

You told me that it wasn’t about me.  You told me that I shouldn’t give unsolicited advice.  You told me that I don’t understand the world.  Again, you told me that I was a shitty person who had no business taking interest in your business.

I want to make amends.  I want to fix whatever is broken, because I really cannot figure out how such a tiny snippet of conversation could possibly be grounds for a shattered friendship.  It won’t happen, though.  I am more than willing to not offer advice or ask questions about your personal life now that I know you don’t like that, water under the bridge.

But you can’t drop it.

This is what I do not understand:  I do not understand why you bring up topics in conversation and then refuse to talk about them.  I do not understand how you can be so childish when you are as mature as you are in other parts of your life.  I do not understand why you lash out so viciously.  I do not understand why you can’t take a couple seconds to listen to someone how is trying to have a conversation with you.  I do not understand why you insist on stepping on broken pieces until they are dust instead of trying to put something that isn’t entirely broken back together while there is still a chance.

Explain yourself.


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