I have come to the realization that, like it or not, sometimes I am the asshole. If there’s one thing that I’ve learned (over and over again, the hard way) it’s that sometimes I don’t always say things the way I mean them and sometimes there’s no way to get that conversation back. I’ve lost friends this way. In some instances, trying to clarify, provide additional details, or even say it a completely different way, only serves to make things worse. A flat tire turns into a train wreck.
Sometimes I think I am speaking clearly, and making total sense, and get completely bushwacked by someone being offended because they misunderstood me. Then, to realize that I have no means of effectively communicating what’s on my mind in that given moment. Imagine having all the abilities of speech and manners and suddenly coming to the realization that none of it is real, and you might as well be mute. It’s not that you’re speaking a different language, where you just need someone who understands to translate; you are completely mute, and no one can help you.
Needless to say, this situation will completely ruin the day. My anxiety is amped for hours, then there is the subsequent stuttering and stammering over ordinarily simple things because I can’t get my mind right for all the guilt and regret over pissing someone off. The knowledge that (no matter how good I try to be) that person may now and forever see me as an asshole looms for days.
It is hugely important to realize that mistakes will be made, and this does not make me a bad person. I will, of course, feel bad for days, weeks, months later. The truth is that in the end, that one instance here or there will usually not matter in the long run. Life goes on, and if the person was a close enough friend to know I have these issues, they will forgive and they will realize I am beating myself up over it. If not, well, I have to wash my hands of guilt, having made my apologies, and learn from the mistake.