Avoiding people | Mark’s Remarks


After a particularly difficult week earlier this year, before Corona’s visit and when things were relatively normal, I woke up on a Saturday morning grumpy as all get out. 

This often happens when I haven’t had enough sleep. Plus, I’d had a good week or two dealing with people who got on my nerves, rubbed me the wrong way, annoyed me, you name it.  I was ready to pack my caveman gear and find the nearest cavern.

Even while sipping coffee – which usually makes all things right in Grumpyville – I began to think about how people make life difficult and how much easier it would be to avoid those people.  I began to make a mental list.

At the top of my list would be nosy people.  Nosy people really take up too much of my time. You have to explain yourself and all your actions to nosy people. They want to know your business… all your business. 

Nosiness is usually in the same family as bossiness, a critical spirit, self-centeredness, control freaks and even sometimes jealousy. Nosy people generally want to ask you questions so they can use their questions to veil critiques or try to tell you how they’d do something you’re obviously doing the wrong way. Nosy folks are usually smarter than you are and know a little about everything. They are generally better than you, in their minds, and if you do something that threatens their royal status they will make faces or comments.

Nosy people want their way at all times.

So, check. Off my list they go. I will avoid these people as much as I possibly can in order to live a better life.

Another topper of my list are people who stir trouble and look for things to be upset about or hold grudges about. Unforgiving people. These are the type who have nothing to do in their lives but create strife and look for people to demonize. They are offended constantly, even when they shouldn’t be. If they can’t find something to be offended about, they are offended for others and delight in stirring trouble for the next guy. 

They are the ones who spread rumors. They are the ones who don’t have a good word to say about anyone.  When you are around these people, they rarely ask about your life or know much about you. They are too caught up in their own immaturity and brokenness.  People like this are rarely able to care about other people. 

Checkmark number two.

Jealous people get my goat also. These are the people who have some type of insecurity, yet portray themselves in another fashion. This type of person is often extremely friendly and likable. 

Jealous people are usually very generous. These folks want to be known as the smartest, the best looking, the most talented.  It’s an endless list. You can’t compliment anyone else in front of these people. You can’t talk about an accomplishment you’ve made or intend to make in front of these people.  

It’s interesting to note that these people, although usually very friendly and nice, wear their feelings on their sleeve. Their facial expressions give them away every time and they aren’t fooling anyone.

Although my list could most likely fill this newspaper, I only have one more to write about. Oops, forgot to check off jealous people.  Wait a minute.

OK. People with no filter. I’m not talking about older folks. They have earned a right to speak their mind and I find them refreshing and funny. Furthermore, after you get over the sting of their zinger, you find they are terribly wise.

No, I’m talking about people who speak almost as soon as a thought enters their head. These are the people who don’t review their comments or questions before they fly out.  These are the people who ask questions like “Is there any chance for the marriage?” as soon as someone says they are divorcing.  

These are the people who ask why it wasn’t an open casket at a wake/funeral. These are the people who start or finish a sentence with “I was just curious.” These are the people who pop off as soon as something pops in.

So, check.  Big red check.

I review my list of people to avoid, feeling much better about myself. I think about taking these people in small doses and trying to have shorter conversations with them. The thought of not dealing with behaviors of others has fueled many a change in my life. I’ve left places, changed jobs and switched gears to avoid people.

“But wait just a doggone minute,” says my little voice of reason.  

I tried to check off my little voice of reason many times, but he will not be checked.

“If you plan to avoid all these people with all these personality quirks, then who exactly will you interact with? Furthermore, many of these people are people you care a lot about.  Your life would be very sad if you avoided these people. There are very few people who are exactly like you. And isn’t that a bunch of crap to think YOU are someone so high and mighty that you can only choose people exactly like you. Who are you, anyway?”    

The little voice does not mince words. 

“And lastly, my fine, upstanding friend. If you are honest with yourself when you review this list, you will find you yourself possess many, if not all, of the qualities you are trying to avoid. I mean, how else would you know so much about these traits and how these people operate if you didn’t live some of this? Do you plan to continue avoiding yourself, or do you plan on tearing off this outer layer of intolerance and uncover some of the joy you have in people?  How about remembering what you liked about all these people in the first place. And if you didn’t like anything about them, how about finding something? Do you think maybe you’re focusing too much on people anyway?”

Sucker punch.  That one hurt, little voice. OK. OK.  Shut up.

He’s right, you know. I can’t avoid people because they aren’t exactly like me.  And who am I anyway?  True, we should take some people in small doses at times. But heck, don’t we need one another?  We are all broken, wounded souls.  We behave in unflattering ways because we have fear, anger, self-loathing and sadness at the core of our being. And how are we to heal from those things without one another and depending on someone who is more powerful than all of us?

Oh, are you like me? Do you avoid God sometimes too? Maybe it’s because we really do know our quirks and are ashamed.

I tear my list into many small pieces and go get some more coffee.  Maybe I should make a “to do” list instead.

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