Ousting Ogres Or Embracing Lifelong Friends
18 Apr 2013
Working in the lettings profession I have been privileged to meet thousands of interesting people from various backgrounds. Most are easy to get on with – some not so. We all struggle with life’s ogres, difficult individuals. We may not necessarily appreciate that we may be somewhat odd too. It is tempting to judge, when someone’s behaviour is irritating or frustrating. We are tempted to distance ourselves from them. After all, such individuals require effort and most of us have neither the time nor patience.
However, were we to invest time in such people, we might be the only ones who ever have! If we could cut through the caustic, we might meet a more interesting individual inside. Are we so oracular we can judge Elephant Men on face value? Or do we simply have a superiority complex? I have engaged with individuals who give the impression of superiority to camouflage their insecurity – me thinks. Some are so critical of everyone else I reasonably deduce that I am probably not excluded from their outstretched finger. Continual subtle snipes at everything one does, makes it difficult not to take it personally. Should we disassociate ourselves?
Walking away from problems is easier than investing in a solution, but ultimately stunts character. Confronting issues will make me a more holistic less Grinch-like person. I find myself asking: Who or what has made these Frankensteins so negative or destructive? Is such an attitude more pitiable than objectionable? Yes. Few of us entering a mental institution would mock or criticize patients. But, placed in the community they become figures of fear, dread and resentment.
Aging has some negative connotations, but the more experiences we endure throughout life the better we are, at coping with them, when they next recur. A silver crown can often contain a few unseen pearls of wisdom. The centre of my silver crown has turned pale pink with the silver having long since dropped out together with some juvenile thinking… I tell myself.
We all know insecure people. This can manifest in varying ways: open introversion, distrust or attention seeking – “Look at me!” e.g. “See how funny I am. Laugh at my jokes” or “Look at my posh car. This makes me more worthy of your attention…doesn’t it?” What they may be saying is, “I like myself too much why don’t you? Or more likely “I don’t like myself but I want everyone else to! Everyone, that is, except the sacrifices required to preserve illusions of normallity or superiority. I have seen this take the form of misdirecting insecurity and projecting it onto innocent victims.” The worst instances I have observed involve such people becoming critical of others, perversely belittling anything good, as of no value (floccinaucinihilipilification) so as to elevate themselves in some way. The fact that this is at another’s expense is a necessary evil, a lower priority than the ogre’s self-esteem and the more ironic having alienated those they seek to impress! This for most is reason enough for backing off!
Most of us want to shed such acquaintances like dead skin? Normally associated with children; we adults, to a lesser extent, are also culprits. In children we tend to make benevolent allowances, whereas in adults we expect them to have matured and by failing to meet our expectations, we reject them. This is my initial inclination, until reflecting upon the miserable history preceding the arrival of such Shrek like outcasts.
I find myself grateful that I have not endured their wretched journey else I would likely be sharing their same swamp. Social interaction stems from communication. Little wonder outcasts are odd if the only people willing to talk to them have to be paid to do so…! Sufficiently secure I can usually detach myself from the criticism and jibes directed at me enabling some compassion for the ogre. Were I to do otherwise, ironically I would demonstrate that I too am insecure – who me… an ogre? Why else would I be so wounded? Not to say I should ignore constructive criticism, nor even negative feedback, which may include truisms. However, am I strong enough to detach myself not merely from the criticism, but moreover, the attitude behind it? This ulterior motive to destroy anyone potentially more successful or holding a contra viewpoint is some ogre’s speciality – who are only green with envy. Amidst the barrage of resentment and fear projected by such ogre aquiaintances, am I able to decipher and assimilate any morsels of truth, which, if acted upon, might improve my character?
Strangers seldom hurt us deeply. Their opinions don’t count. The friendless are strangers to all, whos very presence is an intrusion. When friends are guilty of such behaviour we tend to feel betrayed. Yet if we are real friends we will see beyond such insecurity towards our friends. At this point we become true friends. There is a proverb which states, “Love ‘hardly even’ notices when others get it wrong”. Occasionally this will require all my “hardly even”. Even then I need more even! Amazingly, I have found a few gems beneath the frosty exteriors of such souls. If you can stick with them you will probably have a friend for life, even if the friendship often feels one-sided.
Some describe me as excentric. Am I mortified? I am perfectly happy with me and by and large most others accept me as I am. Parking the oldest car in most car parks (too old to drive any distance – the car that is – not me) I am unimpressed by those impressing with new cars, not that I judge them. I too like new cars but not enough to saddle myself with debt so you will like me! Occasionally, I spot someone more eccentric than me and my inclination is to exclaim wow – stay away! But to do so would dispense with the grace afforded me, thereby casting myself into isolation.
I have observed – just about everyone is odd at some point – in the eyes of others. Get over it! Accept the breadth of diverse personalities as part of the rich mix of interesting people making life more diverse and thus ultimately more enjoyable. Perfectly normal people can be … well… perfectly dull!