Flashback to a few nights ago. I was attending a birthday party and a group of my girlfriends decided to take a group selfie, as we often do. In the midst of our duck lips, and perfectly tilted heads, over the roar of laughter in the distance and the shutter of my friend’s iPhone, I heard a perturbing comment from one of our guy friends.
“You want me to take your picture? You look like you have no friends when you take selfies.”
“I mean, whenever I see someone’s social media and it’s filled with selfies I automatically think they don’t have any friends.”
“We got it.”
I tried to let the comment go. It was innocent enough. Obviously, I was at a birthday function with like 20 of my friends. So, obviously I have friends. Obviously we like to take selfies because we know how to work our angles. That comment rang like a dull gong in the back of my head without me giving it much attention until a few days later when I got into a…tiff with a young man. After knowing me for a week,because things didn’t pan out the way he wanted, he deduced that I was a liar, and “all over the place” with no goals. I, in turn, deduced that he was not someone I needed to associate with.
While I would love to take the time to drag him for filth and expose the fraudulence that I’ve encountered, I’m going tell my inner mean girl to have a Snicker’s and relax. However, these particular instances of people who don’t know me like that believing they have the authority to outlandishly make “inferences” about my character and my life brought an important lesson to the forefront of my mind.
People are going to falsely accuse you of things. They’re going to make assumptions about you and your character whether these assumptions are true or not. They’re going to see a mere snapshot of you and think they have enough information to judge you as a whole. It’s annoying. It’s unnerving. It’s life.
People will see you through their bias tinted lenses. The guy who says selfies demonstrate that I don’t have friends doesn’t necessarily flourish in social settings. The guy who accused me of being all over the place has selective memory and can’t seem to string together the disparity between his own words and actions. If you’re a conniving person, you’ll probably always feel like people are plotting against you. We don’t see the world as it is. We see the world as we are. So, when people come for you, sometimes you just have to realize that they’re telling on themselves. They’re sharing their reality. It doesn’t have to be yours. And you don’t have to take it so personally.
On the flip side, this has been a great reminder to me to exercise radical empathy, which is a concept one of my closest friends has been teaching me. We don’t like to be judged from one encounter, or one photo, or one full moon type of night, so we have to make sure that we extend that same grace to others. I know I’ve definitely been challenged to do so. Maybe next time you get ready to make a blanket statement about someone, you should simply state the way his/her action made you feel or how you received it. That’s what I’m aiming to do.
BUT I will say this: If anyone ever tries to tell you to stop taking selfies, you have got to drop him/her like a bad habit. You don’t need that negativity in your life! 😉