People who are good at keeping secrets are a distinct breed from those who gossip-monger and actively partake in those insidious past times. Childhood teaches a harsh lesson in the school of misplaced trust and whether you’re the source or target, you have a choice on how to approach all future friendships (frienemy/frenemy is so not healthy and not something anyone should cultivate). I learned that based on a new acquaintances’ proclivity to reveal information, especially one(s) involving/needing sensitive handling, as a third party about someone/something can save me time and from poor judgement. It’s a good rule of thumb that what a person blabs is as important as the who: people who feel entitled not just encroaching on someone’s privacy but opening the way for others show their values with great clarity and detail to the layman. I’ve always suspected that the type of person who indulges in her own pettiness and gossips about the lives of others is someone with no meaningful inner life, no real social one to speak of and no depth of good character worth getting to know. The snide gossip is busy judging others in a desperate bid to avoid judgement themselves. It ultimately fails because a judge of good character needs a strong foundation from which to learn and everybody knows that the surface of anything can be made to look the part: if you don’t stand for something, you’ll fall for anything.
A business teacher taught me that when people begin with, “Frankly,” or “Honestly,” that’s the last thing they are conveying, otherwise, why have to bring anyone’s attention to it? Women in particular are guilty of it and it’s because they’re forced “to be nice” and choke back aggression. The outlet for repressed feelings must be made. Hence, their passive-aggressiveness is counter productive and the failure is doubly reaped. If a woman uses strong words (e.g. “I can handle the truth, just give it to me straight” type) and completely falls apart when they don’t get the outcome they were expecting or news they don’t like, she’s only hurt herself by illustrating how unreliable she may really be. That’s a solid reason why I don’t trust women and generally take a long time to warm up/assess them. Too often the people who say one thing and mean another are the sort of people who are selfish and conniving. It’s not a coincidence that people who live beyond their means are also the type of people trying to convince society at large that they’re productive and worth more. It’s easy to spend money and of course, there are no bad consequences if the spender isn’t on the hook to pay up from their own pocket. I’m greatly disgusted when people pretend they don’t have any money cares but they’re thousands in debt. They ostentatiously shower others with cash, gifts and trips but leave the bill to someone else. Often, the gossiper will not take responsibility for their actions when confronted with solid evidence contrary to their oft repeated defamation. Then, they continue to expect admiration and appreciation hundred folds for very minor acts (e.g. picking someone up from work, making dinner once in a blue moon, etc) and are easily offended when they’re called out. They’re children in adult bodies with childish expectations and poor grasp on emotional response, which is to say none at all! My heart goes out to the caretakers, the ones who never get to enjoy their own success and the ones left holding the bag.
When the time came where I gladly said, “To hell with the people constantly needing a scapegoat and who take me for granted!” I had just finished Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand. If I kept excusing the people I loved (specifically family) for their shortcomings, mistakes, bigotry, intolerance and stupidity, I knew I would eventually be crushed and broken by the weight of responsibility that shouldn’t have been foisted on me so young for so long. Being able to forgive does not require forgetting; it’s simply a way of allowing people their faults without falling victim again. Fool me once, shame on you; fool me twice, shame on me. It’s difficult for me to reconcile a person’s severe misjudgement of me/my character, especially as I and my peer group get older. Jumping to conclusions and making everything black and white is a child’s game because adults are supposed to have the experience, if not the know-how, engaging in the world’s shades of grey. Children get upset at being corrected, adults should be appreciative or at the very least, receptive of constructive criticism. Sincere apologies are a struggle for adolescents but adults should be eloquent in giving and receiving them. I am very wary of people who cannot admit wrongdoing. Unless they are contrite and show alacrity to better themselves (words are cheap when people no longer know they have meaning) or reconcile whatever situation, I can’t be expected to bridge a gap the result of someone’s engineering. It’s absolutely possible for me to meet someone on neutral, even ground and go forward, starting on the right foot after an admittance of wrong. Without that act of social grace, I will not go out of my way to help someone, no matter how badly they need it or how long I’ve known them. We’re not children with some adult in the background to “make everything right and fair” so we need to do that together if it’s in our best interests. If you know you’ve fucked up, intentionally or not, that’s on you. Ignorance may be bliss in those cases but ignorance begets more… you know the rest.
Can any good ever be said of someone who spills secrets not their own and for purposes that benefit everyone but the secret maker (keeper)? What does the answer, “Yes, I’ve revealed something I promised someone I never would,” sound like to an audience of strangers? Is it as bad as ,”Yes, I’ve read someone’s journal/diary or invaded their private space without their consent/knowledge,” or “Yes, I’ve spread rumor/gossip about someone I (barely) knew, talked behind their back and was able to look them in the eye without shame/remorse?” Does it make it any more palpable to hear, “I tried to make amends, do right by so-and-so once it was brought to my attention I fucked up?” On a justice scale of determining cause and effect, how does a good person atone for setting into motion events they couldn’t foresee? The answer: by never repeating the same mistake to any degree in the future. To treat others as we wish to be treated.