Remember the previous post? I was all, “Oh, OfficeMate! If only you weren’t so quick to judge! You could spare yourself so much grief if you didn’t always assume the worst!” It was just so clear to me how much energy he wastes feeling bad over troubles that are only in his mind.
I’ve heard it said that the things that bother us most in others are the things we are guilty of ourselves. Embarrassingly, yet again I have proven that true in my own life because that same week, as I was reflecting on OfficeMate’s negative tendencies, I remained unaware of the fact that I was repeatedly doing the same thing.
You see, my boyfriend would be viewing my new haircut for the first time on Saturday. In the past, he’s responded to my attempts at a new look with a neutrality that borders on insulting. “Oh,” he remarked on one occasion, “you’re wearing your hair *up* today.” (I always want to respond to comments like that with something similarly noncommittal. “And you’re wearing a *blue* shirt today.”)
I expected him to respond to my latest ‘do in the same bland way. And the more I thought about that, the angrier I became. I peevishly decided that if he did respond with some observation-not-really-a-compliment, that I would point out that everyone else who has felt compelled to share an opinion on the matter has said something nice – sometimes *very* nice – so WHY is it that MY OWN BOYFRIEND can’t be at LEAST that POLITE?!?! If I thought that once I thought it twenty times, and I griped about it to at least four people.
Since I’m writing all of this in the context of confessing my wrongness, you can probably guess that I’m feeling pretty sheepish right about now. He did not have the reaction that I had so angrily anticipated. When he first saw me on Saturday, his eyes grew wide and he sort of leaned back expressing his surprise. That in itself was much better than I expected. (A reaction! I got an actual reaction!) But then he proceeded to say something nice. Out loud. With words. And he said that he could tell I liked it too, which made me feel good both that I appeared confident and that he noticed. And when I half-joked, “Really, the way everyone at work has raved over it, I’m kinda starting to feel bad about the way I looked before,” he responded encouragingly to that as well. “No, no,” he soothed, “just take the compliments as a good thing and leave it at that.”
As I told my sister about my boyfriend’s response being way better than I thought it would be, the truth hit me. I was being an OfficeMate! Hypocrisy, thy name is Anne.
So the next time I start to fret because I “just know” a situation is going to turn out badly, maybe I’ll remember this incident and consider three more words of caution (and hope): Sometimes. I’m. Wrong.