Marc’s Rule-You Can’t be Mad at Somebody for Treating You the Same Way you Treat Them

Reasons, reasons, reasons, you ever notice how people always think their reason for behaving a certain way is better than your reason? We always think we are justified for doing something but the other person isn’t even though we are doing the same thing. Personally, I think it’s all bullshit.

When I was 15 years old I had traveled all the way to Garden Grove for a relative’s wedding. This was a 6 hour drive from my house which consisted of listening to Neil Diamond do a duet with Barbara Streissand over and over, some rambling on about how he doesn’t send flowers anymore. My mom was a huge Neil Diamond fan so that’s what I got when I went on road trips to southern California. I know way too much Neil Diamond for a 47 year-old man. After the wedding there was a reception at someone’s house and as usual being socially inept I spent most of my time snacking on party favors sitting by myself on the couch.

There happened to be a few kids approximately my age there and I did notice them talking across the room but I never joined them. I was not very familiar with any of them which made it more difficult for me to approach them. I just didn’t know how to get in there and start a conversation so I stayed put with my salted pretzels and rice chex and acted like I was really enjoying the fine cuisine. I just wasn’t good at making friends. That was my go to, hover around the food and stick to those I was comfortable with or just hang out by myself. I actually didn’t mind it too much. I can self-entertain rather easily.

After the reception while in my mom’s car she told me about how some of the kids had gone out for ice cream. She said that they were going to invite me but that I seemed stuck up to them. This really baffled me. My thoughts were, If I am sitting on the couch and not talking to them and they are not talking to me either then what are they bothered by? We are both doing the exact same thing to each other. I had no ill feelings towards them. I had no idea why they didn’t talk to me so I didn’t make up a reason in my head. I knew that I didn’t know and that was fine with me. In my head it was a non-issue. Why is it I am the stuck up one but you are not? People are so hypocritical.

My mom explained to me that since it was their house they expected that I would talk to them first, so that’s why I was stuck up according to them. I must admit that this is really frustrating. How come nobody told me of this social rule? How am I supposed to know this shit? I had never heard of that. Why is your reason better than my reason? I am a firm believer in following rules but if I don’t know the rule you can’t hold me accountable can you? Laws are a different thing, I know, we are responsible to know the laws of the land, I am talking about social rules. I don’t accept this rule, these kids made this stuff up. I don’t give them authority to make up their own rules and expect me to follow them.

What I learned from this is that people always want to justify their actions. It’s okay for me to do one thing because my reason is better than yours, so there, or something like that. I would never be upset at those kids for not talking to me because I didn’t talk to them either. If I wanted to I could have said that they should talk to me first because it is their house and they should be gracious hosts. The bottom line is everybody always thinks that they have a good reason. Have you ever seen a kid run up to his mom and say “Mommy, Johnny hit me for no reason.”? Bullshit, that kid had a reason to hit you. But we always see things from just our own perspective. The kid who got hit thinks there was no reason for that behavior and the violent kid thinks he was justified. And the kid who got hit for no reason always leaves out the part about how he called Johnny a name seconds before he got hit for no reason. He has a reason, I guarantee you, just ask him. I wish those kids at the party would have reserved judgement on me. They could have just asked somebody what my reason was if they were offended by my actions. And just to be clear I am not saying violent Johnny had a good reason to whack that kid but in his mind he probably did. Before you judge Johnny ask him so you get the full story.

10 thoughts on “Marc’s Rule-You Can’t be Mad at Somebody for Treating You the Same Way you Treat Them

  1. Great entry. I think most of us have been there, those of us who are a little more off than others with social cues have been there a lot. Perspective is an interesting thing. Are you familiar with the Johari Window model? It talks about intellectual and emotional blind spots and how they are very real things. When I was in rehab, I obviously had to work on my addictions, but learning about blind spots, and what some of mine were, was a hugely valuable activity.

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    1. never heard of the Johari Window model but I think in about 5minutes I will become a bit more familiar with it. The blindspot idea is fascinating to me. I’ve had thousands of conversations with alcoholics and addicts and a theme that has often come up is reasons, or justifications. I notice it time and time again that people ALWAYS think their reason is a good reason. I thought I had a good reason for not talking to the cousins they thought they had a good reason for not inviting me, a guy in jail thinks he had a good reason to beat the hell out of somebody, alocholics and addicts get real good at justifying their reasons, it’s a slippery slope. I read in the aa big book, I believe, that righteous anger is something that we are not qualified to handle, justifying wrong behaviors falls along the same lines.

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      1. As a guy who was in jail, I can tell you most guys know they made a mistake, but the reality also is that most are in need of anger manager and mental health that they don’t have access to on the outside. Most were raised by inadequate parents, so they became inadequate adults, they know it, and it frustrates them.

        It’s not even justification, it’s just not knowing. One of my blindspots, amusingly enough, has been never knowing when a woman is hitting on me. My wife has had to point it out to me a number of times and when I was in rehab, there was one girl kind of smitten with me, but I didn’t see it until others pointed it out and I learned about blind spots. You really need the help of trusted friends or professionals who know you to get to the bottom of your blind spots.

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      2. great response, I really like the insightfulness. I enjoy learning new things on interesting topics. Yeah, the being hit on thing was always a blindspot for me, in highschool a girl wanted to spend time studying together, I declined, because that’s really the last thing I want to do with a girl and I don’t like to study. In college same thing happened an attractive girl gives me her phone number and tells me to call her if I would like to get together and study. By this time I liked to study but yet again if you were to ask me to make a list of 100things I would like to do with an attractive lady studying with her would not crack that list, never. So, I never called her. huge blindspot for me. Either that or I look like a guy who is a master study partner.

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  2. This would’ve been a good opportunity for adults to teach those kids to try to be inclusive!

    I have to teach both of my kids these social rules. My son is 12, and it’s getting more and more difficult for him.

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    1. yes, thank you. they could have been more inclusive. and for me the lesson I would want those kids to know is, that it is okay to not know something, if somebody behaves a certain way you can just acknowledge that you don’t know why, because to me having an open mind means that when you behave a certain way there are a lot of different reason why you may behave that way and for me to assume I know the reason is arrogant. they should have just said marc didn’t talk to us, I don’t know why and not have drawn conclusions. I think it’s really hard for people to act with humility and just say “I don’t know” they always have to draw a conclusion

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