Sunday, November 14, 2010

I hope you don't mind, but ...

As soon as someone starts with that phrase, I get a terrible feeling in my gut. That phrase can only be followed by something bad ... In my experience it's usually been:

- I hope you don't mind, but I told so-and-so *insert secret/personal information*
- I hope you don't mind, but I went ahead and did *insert task that the person and I were supposed to do together"

Very rarely has this phrase been followed by something positive - by something that indeed, I wouldn't mind. No - it's most often been the case that the person has said/done something that I do mind ... and it can't be taken back.

Three days ago I has having coffee with a group of people - two out of the crowd of six were people that I felt close and comfortable with - the others were just acquaintances. The topic of discussion shifted to stress/lack of sleep. Although that's something I am quite familiar with, I didn't really want to share too many personal details as questions related to stress are often followed by - what are you stressed about/what thoughts keep you up at night ... and these are personal questions that I didn't want to get into at this given time and place with these people. However, before you know it, one of my friends started with 'Well, it's funny you should say that but, Plumpetals, [then turns to me and says 'I hope you don't mind'] has experienced ... ... ...'

It happened so quickly. I didn't expect her to go into so much detail and talk with such ease about me, and things that were obviously personal. Perhaps that's where the misunderstanding lies - the boundary between what is personal and what is ok to share with friends is blurred. I mean, we all have friends that we talk to ... and sometimes we talk to them about other friends - things those other friends have done/have said/have gone through ... but I think there's a certain element of confidence that is assumed when you're talking to someone. Each statement does not/should not have to be prefaced with - Don't tell anyone this - but maybe it does. Anyway.

I just haven't figured out how to deal with this situation. I usually just stay quiet. I know that's not a good thing and that I should speak my mind, but to me it's pointless - They've said/done what they've wanted to and I've already minded.


Eternal Student said...

I hate it when people do that! I overheard someone the other day telling another lady - I hope you don't mind, but your new haircut looks terrible.
Why would she do that? There's nothing that lady could do about her haircut. Was the comment really necessary?
It was just plain rude!

Jade said...

I think the phrase is a subtle way of saying - I'd like you to think I'm sweet, but I'm really a bitch.