What you see isn’t always what everybody GETS

Why, why, why do people persist in believing that the behavior they personally see from another individual is the ONLY behavior that person is capable of?!?!?? WHY??

I watch this over and over — and it doesn’t necessarily even involve me, although sometimes yes, of course it does. If Person A says to Person B that Person C did “x”, way too often Person B will put up an argument if whatever “x” was doesn’t correspond to their own experiences — and mind you, those experiences could be very limited. Doesn’t matter — if something about “x” is distasteful or fails to align with Person B’s beliefs, it must not have happened. Oh, this makes me so crazy.

Just know that I’m not talking about the sound practice of applying healthy skepticism to what others say or refusing to affirm sloppy gossip carte blanche. I for one absolutely don’t believe without question everything that’s told to me; I’m right in there asking tough questions if it’s called for or simply saying something noncommittal – or nothing at all – depending on who’s doing the talking. Particularly if the information is damning, I want to know how the person telling me got this information. And I look close to judge the teller’s veracity and credibility. I may just “file” the information away and just keep my eyes & ears open going forward to look for confirmation or rebuttal.

What I’m really talking about is the too-frequent dismissal of the existence of vast numbers of people who behave differently depending on the situation and the company they are in at any given time.

A HUGE factor that is often overlooked is how differently a person engages depending upon the gender they are interacting with. Plenty of people act one way with their own gender and another with the opposite. Why don’t more people know that? Expect it? I once described an experience interacting with a man to another man who knew us both. “That doesn’t sound like him,” said the man, “He’s never acted like that with me.” And I’m thinking: OF COURSE NOT. YOU’RE ANOTHER MAN. IT’S AN ENTIRELY DIFFERENT DYNAMIC WITH A WOMAN. 

These same distinctions often occur when moving up or down the social ladder. Some people act one way, as in decently, with perceived peers and act like sh*t-heads with perceived underlings or “inferiors.” But the peers generally assume what they get is all there is. 

You ever notice how normal certain people are with friends yet turn into another character when interacting with strangers? The friendly, good ol’ boy or gal is suddenly suspicious and mean with strangers, for instance.

Why do people take on faith that the only behavior they see or are subjected from someone else the only possibility?? Why is it so hard to fathom that there just might be other sides to people? Sides they might never have any reason to witness??

Don’t EVEN get me started on how differently some people act when they are attracted to someone! Sure, lots of it is fairly benign stuff but not all, not all. People will do things, and act in ways stemming from attraction and sexual interest that those they have no prurient interest in would never likely imagine. But why don’t they imagine??! Why is it such a stretch?

Then there is how people behave “out in the world” vs with their own family. Huge differences can turn up here.

I really think the important thing is to allow in our own world views that what we see of somebody isn’t necessarily the same thing other people see or experience. To allow that when something said sounds “out of character” for someone it isn’t necessarily so; maybe it’s just out of our line of vision.

5 thoughts on “What you see isn’t always what everybody GETS

  1. vanbytheriver

    For sure, that at-home vs. out in the world image. No one believed that my own mother could be abusive to her family. She was a sweetheart to everyone else, even/especially to friends who we brought home. I know it was her illness, but it was tough for a child to witness that Jekyl/Hyde thing for a lifetime.
    I also had an opportunity to work with a few captains of industry. The wealthiest/most successful humans I ever knew treated everyone with equal respect and dignity. They had nothing to prove. The most insecure “climbing the ladder” folks…very different story. It had to do with confidence, no doubt.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. writerinsoul Post author

      The only thing I consider – and this isn’t meant only as a comment on your mother but something I’ve had reason to think about given people I know – is that if a person can control themselves in certain situations (out in public, on the job, with police officers etc) then their mal-behavior with particular people can’t be entirely attributed to mental illness, a drinking problem, drug use and so on (i.e. whatever is typically proffered as the explanation for why they don’t act right). Having other people tell you how nice/swell/great/kindly someone is when you know otherwise is crazy-making!!!

      Your point about confidence is well-taken. Maybe it’s the people who are most fearful of losing what they have.

      Liked by 1 person


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