return to index
return to the archive

Foolish Divergence

19.2.2023 [21:02]

Being around people that inject their contrarian opinion anytime that's possible (albeit not appropriately) is exhausting. I'm not even talking about politics or societal issues, this is about the most mundane conversations you can think of.
Imagine sitting at a table with two other people, X and Y. You share an interest with X, let's say orchids. Not everyone's favorite, but it's a commonly appreciated flower. Just as you're about to say you bought a new orchid, Y interjects with "I hate flowers. I hate all of them actually". How would you respond? The conversation is halted and everyone feels uncomfortable. Maybe it's just me being used to thirdwheeling people talking about shit I don't care about, but I don't think this is a normal or polite way to speak your opinion on the topic, especially if you're in front of two other individuals who greatly enjoy the loathed item.
I met a person who is exactly like this. I don't hate them, but sometimes this habit of theirs irritates me, and not just a little bit. I'm not perfect either, I know I have my fair share of irritating traits, I don't know which ones, so I let others pick which, but I digress.
Some months ago I was super excited because I brought home a new pet and I had to babysit it 24/7. I'm certain it's not everyone's favorite, because it was a baby cochin hen (pic isn't mine, but she was exactly like that). Her being like a month old and me having to study hundreds of pages in a week, I had to keep her inside my house, feed and entertain her just like you'd do with a baby dog or a cat. Young pets need a stimulating environment while growing up, that'll ensure an optimal upbringing and lots of requited affection. This chicken in particular had a latent imprinting, so she followed me around as if I were her mother hen. It's normal for us here to have farm animals as pets (maybe not inside your house, but I couldn't let her outside given the circumstances...), so I always mention it whenever someone asks me about it (mostly out of fear they'll consider me a complete, utter weirdo).
Long story short, I met with two friends of mine (the aforementioned X and Y) after lessons around the end of last September. I mentioned that I took care of a baby chick, and I had received two very different responses upon showing them a picture. Chickens are not X's favorite, but they said she was very cute and small. Y immediately yelled at me - and I quote - "God that's so disgusting, how the hell can you find that cute?! Don't show me that again, I hate it, whatever it is". I was appalled. I immediately brushed it off and laughed about it "Haha nooo! She's cute trust me! She's lovely", but after some seconds it hit me hard and I stopped talking almost entirely until the end of the meeting. Is this how you talk to someone about their own pets?? Had she been a dog, they probably wouldn't have dared to make such comments. It's so vile to insult an innocent pet right in front of the owner, even if you don't personally like it. For instance, I hate dogs, I never liked them and I have never wished to own one, but if somebody were to show me their dog I would never dare to say "Your Dog Sucks and It Shouldn't Be Alive", that's not something I even remotely THINK, because it's incredibly rude and awful to spew such things to somebody who spent months or even years taking care of it. Unless they let their Princess/Bella/Luna attack random dogs, passersby or even their own children, in that case I will show no mercy. But... this is just a baby chicken. She literally only eats rice and will only attack a worm in the dirt.
Warning: animal death is mentioned in the following paragraph.
To cap it all off, my cochin is no longer with us (see blog entry: 4th of October, 2022). Another one of my pets died in my hands an hour after I saw the dead chick, so to say I was mentally scarred is truly an understatement (I still cry about it to this day, as I'm doing now). I partially recovered the following afternoon because I hung out with some friends and I had a lot of fun, but I couldn't express how thankful I was for the wonderful day because I felt extremely uncomfortable talking about the incident(s), and I knew they would've asked about it anyway. The fear of being met with the same response was definitely there, what if they told me she was better off dead? To this day, I never mention my hens to Y.
End of the trauma dumping.
I confessed what happened with Z, another friend of mine; I voiced my disdain for the words Y had said about me and my pet. Fortunately they agreed with me, so apparently I'm not an asshole for not being okay with insults directed to me and an innocent creature I love.

This is not the first time they behaved this way, this was by far their greatest offence. Other unneeded inputs regard similar mundane stuff that ranges between lunch hours and media formats. I don't understand the point of expressing your opinion in such manner... "I hate this" "How can you eat lunch at 13? I literally never have lunch, ever" "This thing you like sucks so much lol", etc etc. I'm not against having different ideas on things that are generally liked, I'm the first person that admits to have unpopular opinions and tastes, but if I have to speak my mind, I do it when there's nothing else to say, or when I'm asked directly. Manners are everything and maybe that's what Y is missing: just plain old politeness. I'd definitely get more aggressive if we touched topics I'm extremely sensitive about, like idiots defending famous men proven wifebeaters or rapists, but even there, 60% of the time I'd just give a look of disappointment and sigh instead of confronting myself with them.
In conclusion, I feel like they - just like many others - gain some sort of self-importance through this contrarian attitude. I have the presage that they do this out of spite, because they're still in the "not like the other girls" phase. It disheartens me, because I don't dislike them as a person, I just wish they were more mindful when talking to me and others, and learn that there are better ways to express your preferences, no matter how divergent.

This is the best way to convey the feeling I get when I'm being met with lackluster interjections.