Thursday, March 10, 2011

I argue because I care...

If you saw a woman walking down the street with her skirt caught in her knickers, obviously as a result of a post-restroom-visit 'wardrobe malfunction', would you tell her? No? Why not? If the woman was your wife/mother/sister/daughter, would you tell her?

What's the difference?

If you overheard a stranger at a bus stop saying they were going to X place, and then noticed that they were about to get onto the wrong bus, would you tell them?

If the harried mother in front of you drops her child's shoe, do you pick it up and return it to her?

If someone is unknowingly making an absolute prat of themselves in public, can you sit there and laugh at them?

If your best friend's spouse/partner is cheating on them, do you tell them?

If you're in a conversation and someone makes cites a piece of information that you absolutely know to be inaccurate, do you contradict them?

To me it's all the same thing. If you care enough about that person, you tell them. You overcome your own embarrassment, your own distaste for confrontation, your own cultural dictates and you let them know. If they choose to continue along that chosen path, at least you can be sure that they are making an informed choice.

I am often told that I am argumentative. What people don't realise is that I argue because I give a damn. Seriously. I don't set out to be difficult. It matters to me. All of it. I want you to know that we have recently discovered that the earth is round, that it revolves around the sun, that learning styles are bogus, and that your fly is open. I want to perform the Heimlich manoeuvre on you when you're choking and I can't stand around and watch you embarrass yourself in public.

So let's say I make a strong statement and you go off and mutter to your friends/colleagues about how misinformed I am, but you don't tell me how misinformed I am. When I find out about it, I am going to assume it's because you don't care enough to set me straight. To engage with me. To argue with me, even.

Is my fly open?


David Ferguson said...

I myself don't see all the examples as the same thing--though that's not to say you shouldn't see them as the same thing.

It's more that, in my own opinion, (a) my opinion isn't always right, (b) my perceptions aren't always those that others have, (c) some people will respond to what they see as gratuitous criticism with a great deal of ire, sarcasm, or both.

I'm ever so slightly prone to sarcasm (when I'm cranky) and to satire (when I'm not), myself. I've learned that not everyone is transported with delight when I share the sarcasm or satire. So more and more, especially in situations where I can be even more readily misunderstood (Twitter, Facebook), I try to remind myself that a closed mouth gathers no foot.

Just to say that an apparently non-argumentative person might still care.

(I'm not gonna touch whether a non-caring person can be argumentative.)

The upsycho said...

@Dave I realise that there are different levels of reluctance to overcome, which was the point I was trying to make. In the first example, if the woman in question was your daughter, you'd tell her. If it was a stranger you possibly wouldn't. The difference is that you care more about your daughter.

And, yes, your opinion isn't always right. Absolutely true. And when this is the case for me, I wish someone would engage with me. Talk me out of it. Argue with me. Don't leave me hanging there! My view is that, if a person cared enough about me, they'd come to my aid in this way.

I find it totally humiliating when you discover that everyone else has been in agreement on a certain point and no-one saw fit to tell me. So I'd rather not do that to anyone else.

And yes, my ever-open mouth gathers a lot of feet. It's a risk I'm prepared to take. I simply don't know how to be other. It's a course of action that has alienated a lot of people along the way, to be sure!

Izzy Herriette & Co. said...

Absolutely appreciate and agree with you style and personality; your views! Just introduced to you today through Christine Darg's posting/photos of the Warrior Bride meeting. Looks like a glorious time was shared by all in the meeting. Look forward to learning more of you now. Blessings to all of you there - in your walk with Christ - as His BRIDE!!

The upsycho said...

@Izzy Indeed - a great time. I will be posting the photos soon (once I've had a chance to make sure there are no objections to them, that is).