Today, the same friend told me that a conversation I had with her was me arguing and trying to be right. And that it wasn't the first time, it happens a fair bit, and that apparently I'm the person that this friend gets into arguments with the most.
This time, I feel quite...discouraged.
The thing is, I didn't even see the conversation as an argument. In my head, I thought it was a decent conversation where we were clarifying certain facts. This is what you heard and know, it seems different from what I heard and know, so I'm trying to clarify your points and piece them with mine and trying to see how it makes sense. Maybe your information was wrong, maybe mine was, that what we were trying to figure out.
When the friend didn't really want to talk anymore, I didn't even know why. Until a few hours later when I was told exactly why.
And that really makes me feel helpless. How can I correct something I don't even know? Clearly something was off after awhile because the friend didn't really want to talk to me anymore and I could sense it, but I just thought maybe she is tired or just not feeling like talking much today. It didn't even remotely occur to me at all that I had offended her.
I feel like, maybe the way I think is different from other people? I'm not sure, I can't read minds so of course I don't know how thought processes work in the minds of others. It does seem that way though, because the things that seem perfectly normal to me seem to offend others sometimes.
I know a few clear examples. Like the way I give criticism. I especially like to receive direct, to the point criticism that is well substantiated and I take it and improve myself from there. That is often not well received by others though, so most of the time I should not give criticism in that manner even though I like to receive it like that. I think I have learnt a lot in that department and though I still don't do it very well at times, it's much better than it used to.
I don't even know if I'm really improving or not anymore. I think I am, but apparently there are all these things I don't even see.
On arguments... I think for me, when you throw a statement out there in my head I feel that you should have a reason for saying such things. That there was a logic or intuition behind that statement or you wouldn't have said it. When the intuition behind a statement isn't immediately clear, I naturally question it. I'm not out to prove myself to be right and you wrong, it's not even about you or me at all, it's about the statement. I just don't see where you are coming from and am hoping that you could substantiate your statement on why that is the case, and if it makes sense then I'll agree and if it doesn't I'll say why I disagree. This happens for any statement, from the smallest inconsequential things to big issues in life.
I realise though that this whole exercise is seen as me trying to argue over what is most of the time trivial things. For me, I am trying to understand the person, situation or statement, but the person feels that I'm picking a fight over nothing.
I always known that sometimes the way I say things is not taken too well, and I have been doing my best to be conscious about it. There are a couple of times I still do say certain things that when I think about it later, I can see why it would not be well received. There are also times where I would have said something but held back, and I think to myself, hey I'm learning, I'm getting better at this.
Today is the first time in a long while I actually felt like I would never have known that something I said was not well received had I not been told. On the same conversation, I was told that it already happened multiple times.
Now I wonder if others have always felt the same way but never told me.
I feel rather frustrated honestly. I don't know what to do. I don't know why I have a different mental wiring from others that makes it more difficult for me to communicate in a loving way with others. I feel like I shouldn't talk because I unwittingly offend people when I do.
I really have a lot of respect for people who love deeply both in their words and actions. Many times, I wish I was more like that. I try to do it. Yet I don't seem to get there.
It is my desire to be the salt and the light. To love as Jesus loves. I don't want the way I think or speak to cause people to perceive Jesus in a negative light. Yet I feel like that's what I do sometimes.
When I explained how my mind operates to my friend, I was told that it reminded me of her friend's boyfriend. Apparently her friend complained to her before about how he's like that, logic and substantiating arguments, and that it frustrates her so much.
That actually hit close to home.
So I don't know. It's very difficult to fix something when you don't even know there is a problem. So I told my friend, just tell me if I'm doing it. If I'm being stupid just tell me, you don't have to be afraid of hurting my feelings because the plus point of having such mental wiring is that I can take criticism very well. If I do it every single day (which I hope not), tell me every single time if need be. I really rather be told so that I can fix it, than not and I go on not even realising anything was wrong.
Same goes to you reading this. I am thankful for friends who are super nice and understanding to me. Who despite my flaws choose to love me the same. I am apparently quite a special case though. I think I do best with some tough love. I would appreciate it if you just tell me if you feel that my words or actions are not loving, instead of not saying anything because you don't want to hurt my feelings. Also, don't mince your words. Sometimes, I don't even realise that it is a criticism at all. I'm terrible at taking hints. Don't be too nice to me or I might think that I'm doing fine.
In the long run it will be really helpful for me. I do really want to be a better person. A better representative of the Kingdom of God.