There comes a time when your principles run smack into your actions and you realize the awful truth about yourself: you’re more two-faced than Harvey Dent.
I have long prided myself for being a transparent human being in my interpersonal relations. That is, not pretending to be best buds with someone and then bad-mouthing them two hours later. I hated that trend in high school. I never knew who to entrust with the ball of feelings I carried around as a teenager; the wrong person would beam me with it like I was the last girl standing in a dodgeball game.
Yesterday, I realized that it’s not so simple as being nice to only people you like. Adulthood and most civil interactions require a pesky thing called cordiality. The truth is that we’re not going to like everybody, even if we try. I’m not talking about people you have a niggling feeling about. I mean folk who have bounced trampoline style on your last available nerve, drop kicked your patience like Bruce Leroy, or proven themselves to be utterly distasteful after opening their mouths and spewing garbage.
I ran into such a person yesterday. This Person’s voice was coated with honey and I wondered if I could keep my privately held resolve to ‘not fool with This Person’ in public. I failed miserably. I smiled back. I oozed the molasses tone that I reserve for Good Folk. My reason for disliking This Person looped in the back of my head, a merry-go-round of mockery to the display I was putting on.
I walked away more than a little ashamed of myself.
But how do you express dislike without expressing rudeness? As much as I would love to be true to the revulsion coiled in my gut, I have no stomach for public confrontation. I know, that makes me more hypocritical than a little bit. My perennial penchant for keeping the boat steady means that I rarely act overtly mean;I just won’t entertain conversation. But this time, I went so far as to be nice.
I dreamed up a scenario in which I finally served lip back to This Person, who threw a Last Straw of snark my way recently and made me admit, ‘I do not like This Person. AT ALL.’ Brave Dara said politely, “You know, Person, I really can’t stand you. I’d be super grateful if you never spoke to me again. Mmkay? Cool. Now get out of my face.”
My yellow bellied sensibilities will probably ensure this never happens. Until then, I will be stuck with my private screw face, searching for the words to appropriately express my distaste.
How do you handle people you don’t like but are forced to interact with regularly?