Years ago, when I was young and volatile a guy I’ll call Gordie said something and I began a diatribe to prove he was wrong. A chap of respect called Jeffery summoned me, and I broke off mid word.
“Answer one question,” Jeffery asks, “Do you care what Gordie thinks about anything?” Well, the answer was No. Gordie was one of those fringe guys who is in your class but whom you never even walk with in the hall.
“Then why are you arguing with him?”
I didn’t have an answer. I had a lot of questions. Most of them for myself. Why did I even speak to Gordie beyond “Good day?”
Over the years there are many people like Geordie. They have opinions, they look to goad you into a debate, they try to insult; they are looking for attention and this is how they do it.
Some with get a dozen piercings or tattoos. Some will talk loud and dress flamboyantly. Others will seek to entice you into discussion, pushing ‘wood’ into the fire, because they know you have strong views and are trying to ignite them.
Since that interlude with Jeffery I divide the world into people I care about; those whose views matter to me. And those who don’t. Most people fall into the ‘don’t’ category.
There are a lot of people who only want to provoke you to get a response. When you don’t respond, they lose. They want attention, they demand attention, they demand you focus on them, they demand you become emotional or intellectually engaged in them.
Over the years I have decided that if you pay me for advice I will give it. If you don’t pay me, I won’t. I don’t care what you believe, what you want, your world view. You can believe anything you want.
Over the years, very few people can effectively insult me.
Firstly, I don’t care what you think of me. I know my ‘skill set’ and have no doubt of my competence. What I don’t know, I admit. I don’t try to fudge or tough it out. I don’t know.
Secondly, I don’t talk about what I don’t know. If I was not in the room when a remark was passed, I will not pass it unless I attach attribution. If I am in a room and I see and hear something, then if it comes up I will admit. If you attack, I’ll be quiet. I was there. You weren’t.
Thirdly, people can believe anything they want to. You can show them proof, they will deny. Leave them.
My lack of connection has caused a lot of people to pass a lot of remarks, none of which matter to me. This annoys them.
I am not invited to places that if my dead body was found there it means I was killed elsewhere and my body dumped.
I am consulted on matter in which I have qualification, which means that they will consult someone else who will have less qualification and give them a faulty response. As long as it is their money, their property, what do I care?
Once, seeing a Board going in the wrong direction I tried to force some daylight into their darkness. Going off my usual creed, I actually stood up and shouted. This made me look very stupid.
I won’t do that again.
My friends matter. Those I respect, matter. The rest; what they think or say is a matter of no importance.