I think I have decoded people. It’s quite simple in fact. There are two types of people in this world – mean people and nice people.
You might not agree with such a simple demarcation what with the whole ‘shades of grey’ thing we talk about. But that doesn’t matter, because the world is indeed split into just two kinds of people – those who are mean and those who are not. How you ask? Ok, let me tell you.
Now my theory is that every single person in this world is opinionated. While some might accept it, and actually say ‘I am opinionated’, some might not have to say it, because it is apparent from the way they talk. Some others choose not to offer an opinion. These are the tough ones. Many folks assume that they do not have opinions, or that they do not care enough to have an opinion on the matter. But the fact is, unless one is absolutely unaware of something, he by default has some opinion about it. The degree might vary, but he does. And if he doesn’t say it out loud, it’s perhaps due to other reasons – like not wanting to get into an argument, or better still, not wanting to offend someone. In short, he is just being ‘nice’.
There may be a counter argument saying everyone is allowed to have an opinion and that no one should get offended by that. True. The problem arises when the opinion in question is direct personal attack on someone else’s state. Like for example, believing that ‘working women have their priorities wrong if they are leaving their children in a day care’ is an absolutely normal opinion to have. Saying it to a working mother who is leaving her child in a day care, is uncouth.
Similarly, telling someone who just bought a place close to work, that you ‘cannot understand how someone can be ok living amidst the offices’ is plain rude. Or telling someone who has already taken up a new job that you have heard only bad things about the place, even if you are being absolutely honest, not very cool. Basically, when you are about to opine on something irrelevant to you, but absolutely personal and relevant to the one in front, especially when they didn’t as for your tuppence, refrain from giving it.
And it is as simple as that. You know, making the choice between nice and mean. All you have to do is have a slightly finer filter to ensure what goes through isn’t hurtful, or rude, or impolite, because sometimes what we say because we think we are being ‘extremely honest and in your face and don’t mince our words’, we are actually being mean, and offensive, and generally asshole-y. So make it subtle, say it if you have to, but just say it a bit better.
And if it is that tough, there’s always another option. Just shut the fuck up.