Or, at the very least, the point I’ve been trying to make in an ongoing argument with Avitable recently.*
The entire article is a long list of new rules of behavior for “highly evolved humans” – aka, people living in the age of Twitter and Facebook and Electricity. It contains words of wisdom like “Don’t Lie With Your Facebook Photo” and “Meet Online Friends in the Real World“. You know, real cutting edge, life changing stuff.
But I’m not here to regurgitate the list to you. That’s what hyperlinking is for.
No, I am here to tell you how to not be an asshole at life.
(That, by the way, is a twitter reference.)
Adam and I have been discussing lately why we befriend people, why we read blogs, etc. etc. etc. My answers are varied and mature and include things like “because I learn a lot from them” or “they are inspiring” or “they are funny” or “I love their writing” or “I love their heart”. Things like that.
His answer is, basically, “they like me/read me/stroke my ego in some form.”**
**I may be paraphrasing this a little. It might be that he suggested this was one of the reasons he makes friends, but not the only reason. Or that he didn’t use the term ‘stroke my ego’ specifically. But I contend that his insistence that ‘investing time in people who don’t like you is stupid’ gives me creative license to quote him however I want.
My next response is generally something about him being an asshole and lacking a soul and me being clearly more evolved than he is.
Unfortunately, I’ve found that Adam’s attitude about measuring someone’s worth based on how they affect his worth is actually indicative of fairly common thinking. The first time I remember encountering it was when I was 18 years old and talking to my then-ex-boyfriend-and-soon-to-be-baby-daddy’s current girlfriend.
They were fighting and I, in true martyr fashion, was trying to help him smooth things over and win her back. Because I wanted him to be happy, and he was just sure in that moment that having her would make him happy. (Please include this story on any future recommendation letters for my sainthood.)
“Why do you love him?” I asked.
“Umm… well… I know he really likes me,” she answered.
“Well, he loves me. I like that.”
My head nearly exploded and it took everything I had in my 18 year old body not to throttle the both of them right then and there. Instead, I sucked it up and reminded her of all the other things about him that were awesome and had nothing to do with her that she surely knew and was just having trouble remembering at time. Right?!?!
That conversation I had on a dingy covered porch of an old farm house in the middle of nowhere immediately rooted itself into my memories and my own moral code. People are worth more than what they can do for you. They are more than how they make you feel. And they are much, much more than how they feel about you.
It’s the same thing with blogs.
I read blogs based on the content, or something I see in the blogger – not based on whether or not they read and comment on my blog. Adam? Doesn’t read blogs by people who never comment on his site.
Because he is an egotistical prick, mainly.
(Who I love, still, somehow. Because I probably need my head examined.)
I don’t understand this way of thinking. At all.
If I like you, it’s because of who you are. That is not automatically connected with how you feel about me.
Granted, if you are an asshole to me, I might decide that who you are is not so awesome. But that has more to do with your behavior and how you treat people than the fact that “well, fine! If you don’t like me, then I don’t like you!”
Are we really all that self centered? Does everything have to begin and end with ourselves? Are we really that incapable of appreciating the value of another human being without immediately having to wrap it up in something having to do with us?
God, I hope not.
Because if so, you’re missing out on a lot. There are a lot of really amazing people out there who have no clue that I exist. There are a lot of amazing people out there who totally know that I exist and just – for whatever reason – don’t “get me”. Or like me. Or whatever. But that doesn’t mean that I can’t still appreciate them all on their own, even if they never know about it.
The ironic thing is, what you’re missing out on is what those people can offer you. Whether it’s perspective or inspiration or simple entertainment, there are so many gifts that people who might not know or like you can bring to your life.
And on a less happy go-lucky note – choosing your friends based on how well they kiss your ass isn’t exactly the best recipe for surrounding yourself with interesting people. Sure, you might build yourself an impressive entourage. So the fuck what? Really? What the hell are you going to get from an entourage besides a lot of head nodding from people with blank expressions? You might as well just buy yourself a goddamn Bobble Head doll instead!
And now I have ranted myself out of a point.
Or a conclusion.
*But since both Wired and probably Jesus would agree with me, I think I can officially declare this argument WON.