Saturday, June 13, 2009

How to Handle "Typical" Unreliable People

I wrote this response to an Anonymous commenter who asked how to deal with the fact that most "typical" people don't value being reliable and following through on their word. You can see her comment on my "If Your Friends are Just Using You, They're Not Really Friends" post, but Blogger wouldn't accept the html link for the books, so here it is as a post.

Thank you for your comment. Let me recommend two books:

That's Not What I Meant!

You Just Don't Understand: Women and Men in Conversation

I don't know why most people don't feel the need to be honest and reliable.

I DO know, however, that it is so "normal" to be dishonest, that when I answered a psychological eval question "I never lie" with "true of me all the time" the person who interpreted the test told me it most likely indicated I am putting up a front. I asked why that would be- I really DON'T lie. He said that everyone (of normal psychology) lies and that if one says they don't lie, they are either of abnormal neurology (such as autism) or they are trying to pretend they never lie so that they will look good to others (thus, they are putting up a front). Very weird, IMHO.

Personally, here is the way I deal with it:

1. I do not "depend" on "typical" people. I make plans but typically have a backup in mind "just in case." I enjoy their company, but don't rely on it.

2. I keep in mind that "typical" people often say they want to do something, go somewhere, make XYZ agreement, when they don't. In many cases, they are making subtle hints that we (if we were typical) would pick up on and realize that they weren't going to follow through.

3. I really don't "plan" too many things anymore, because "typical" people are too fickle, and they don't feel the same sense of obligation I do about things. If I say I'm coming, then I'm coming no matter what it takes. If I say I'll do XYZ for you, short of death and dismemberment, I'll do it. Most people aren't like that. They'll go with the best thing going, and when something better comes along, they'll forget they made plans with me.

4. If I do "plan" something, it's a common area event- by that I mean, it's something like going to a museum or a race, where I can still enjoy myself whether everyone comes or I end up by myself. My "social calender" isn't as full as it used to look, but my interactions are much more enjoyable.

5. Finally, and this has been the HARDEST part of my walk, has been realizing that people just don't like being around me too long. I'm too honest, live too clean a lifestyle, and I don't watch a whole lot of junk. In other works, I'm pretty boring, and my lifestyle condemns others (especially other Christians). Even though I'm learning to season my words with grace, and I'm getting better at social interaction, I've accepted the fact that until I make people feel good about themselves when they're around me, and until I squelch any embarrassing habits I have, I'm going to be alone more than I want. The good news is, I don't want to be alone forever, and that has inspired me to change over the past few years. I'm still rough around the edges, but ask those who have known me- they'll tell you I've come a loooooong way.

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