It works my good nerves when other people insist on telling me about someone I know well. The specific players and subject change, but this has always been part of my experience. It’s particularly galling when there’s sound, obvious evidence that I DO know the person.
Supposing, for example, I know that Person X has a hair-trigger temper. Yet other people are compelled to tell me how calm, laid-back, and unflappable Person X is. Really?? If I offer a contrary, only easing-into-the-waters response like, “That hasn’t been my experience,” they appear not to hear. If I then ratchet it up, perhaps with “I’ve seen Person X lose control,” they argue with me! Argue?! “Oh no,” they’ll say, “Person X would never do that.” They wouldn’t? Well, that’s funny. My mind is still pretty sound, and I’m damn sure I saw Person X blow their top a half-dozen times! (Can you tell these scenarios aggravate me??)
And why does it get to me so much? Because the person who has seen and claims different, is now the crazy one, the problematic one. If other people don’t see it, it doesn’t exist! Grrr. I’ve tried to become less affected and invested when this happens, but the problem is there can be repercussions for taking a passive approach, for the other people involved and for me. And it’s a real nuisance in situations where it’s necessary to keep dealing with all the parties.
Still, how much effort is worthwhile to try to convince other people of things you know? My own answer is “less” than it used to be. It’s not my most generous response, but at times I figure, let people hang themselves. And just proceed for myself based on what I know. In part, it comes back to a long-running theme in my life, namely just how much responsibility to try to take for other people. The other part, I’m sure, is image-control. Stepping away from the herd, in this case with a contradictory opinion over someone such as our “Person X”, can result in becoming the target of criticism and backlash. Holding an unpopular opinion, especially about someone other people apparently need to think of in a certain light, isn’t for the faint-hearted.
Even so, when I know I’m right, when my direct – not rumored or speculated – experience with a person tells me something important, I’m going to put my faith in me. And let the others go where they will.