Today a girl asked me, "Does * like me?" I didn't know how to respond. I knew for a fact that * didn't like her. We'd had multiple conversations about this already. But I couldn't exactly tell her that.
"She's like a gross person with a mental problem. She just can't talk to people."
"Who do you think is the prettiest in our year?"
"Who do you think is the funniest"
"Pick your top 3."
"I don't think she'll be very good at tutoring. I can't imagine sitting down with her for an hour."
"She's just always strange."
"She doesn't even really model. She's just showing off photos her parents paid to have taken of her."
"They were kicked out of the team because no one liked them. They were just kinda annoying."
"I don't usually hate people. But I hate her. It happened 2 years ago and she still won't shut up about it."
"I reckon H is going to be the dux. I just don't think A or I will."
I know I've been part of conversations about pretty much everybody in our entire grade. You probably have too. We just can't stop. We're always talking about each other, having "D&Ms". I guess everyone thinks something of each person, and everyone must share their opinion at one stage. Other people is an entertaining and sensitive topic, the only thing more sensitive to talk about being yourself, which we tend to avoid altogether when discussing who's the "smartest" or the "prettiest".
Sure, you have conversations about everything else under the sun, and what you say isn't necessarily mean, but sometimes I feel as if with different people all I talk about is... well.. different people.
But just wonder for a second, what are other people saying about you? You must be mentioned in some of these "D&Ms" or casual conversations that you aren't part of. Today we had a brief chat about this and we all basically asked, "Has anyone said anything about me?" It's a daunting question that we all want the answer to, but are scared that we won't want at the same time. The response was, "Oh yeah. Someone said something about you, M. I can't remember who but she said, 'I swear M hates me.'"
Wait, I'm sorry, who do I hate? I wasn't aware I hated anyone at the moment. That's the thing. Simple comments like these rile us up and immediately make us wonder, who? And why? Is my unease at talking to certain people, my shyness, making them think I dislike them? Or is it that I actually dislike them? Is it the girl I don't talk to as much in band? The girl I seem to forget to say hi to? Who!? And why do I care?
And a small part of me wonders, am I important enough to actually have people discussing whether I like them or not...
But another thing is, even though we're discussing each other, a lot of the time we don't even give our real opinions. We make one up for the sake of fitting in to the conversation. Our perception on a person we don't even know very well can change simply from what we hear. It's gossiping. And it works. Rumours are convincing. There's always some truth to them, no matter how stupid you think they are. They come from first hand accounts. They came from somewhere.
Then, no matter what our opinion is, to their face we act differently. It's not two faced. It's simply a tactic to avoid conflict and havoc. If we knew what everyone thought of us, the entire school would be at war. She hates her? Well they sit together in class and seem to be the best of friends. She doesn't actually model? Well you seem to be a very supportive listener when she talks about it.
We're all part of the same community, so we're all going to have an opinion on each other, and we're all going to act differently around each other. And I think that's a good part of life and human behaviour. I could give my opinion on every single person I know of, but I would never have the full story on any one person. I don't know them well enough. I can't read their mind. My opinion isn't the truth. It's just my opinion. That's all. And the same goes for theirs' and anyone else's thoughts on any given person.
One of the facts thrown into our little chat today was that out of the 7 billion people on earth (I think there's actually 8 now but oh well) 2 billion won't like you. That's 2 in 7 people. And we're just going to have to deal with it.
Encounters and relationships with any given person are very important, no matter how distant they are, whether they're an acquaintance or someone you love. Talk about people. Think about people. There's nothing wrong with discussing others. Just remember to be honest or nice. And remember that they may very well someday hear what you think. And remember that opinions are different from the truth. And remember that what other people talk about is none of your business.