Sunday, 16 December 2012

Filter

I've been thinking a lot lately about all the things we don't say. The things you don't acknowledge out loud, the things that are simply understood, the things that you believe do not need saying. How often are those unspoken understandings truly understood? How often is it better to keep quiet about someone's effect on you? When is it better not to tell someone how you feel?

Lately, I can't help wondering if it's easier to keep most of these thoughts to ourselves. Not out of fear, but out of courtesy, in order to keep things a certain way. There's no point telling someone how you feel about them -how much you care about them- if this declaration will be ill-received and destroy the relationship you do have. There's no point in acknowledging someone's faults when you can simply work around them. I' not talking about being a coward and shying away from affection or failing to stand up for yourself if someone is treating you badly, I'm just talking about the times when it's honestly just easiest not to say anything.

Sometimes I wonder if the modern age of internet-induced over-sharing has made us forget that some things are not meant to be said. Yes, we all have inner monologues. Yes, some of them are very funny. Yes, it feels good to say those things sometimes. Is it really necessary to say all the things we think? Does is really benefit us?  Maybe I'm just a fan of the old fashioned air of glamour that a little bit of mystery evokes. Maybe it's just because I like people's stories, and because when I don't know a person's story, I enjoy wondering about it. About them. The less I know, the more I want to know.

In the world of over-sharing it's refreshing when you meet a person who knows how to edit themselves verbally. I'm not saying we shouldn't curse or converse or tell each other things about ourselves, but I've been meeting a lot of new people lately and it amazes me how inappropriately some people begin conversations. Then again, maybe I'm just oversensitive. Maybe I have inappropriate expectations of propriety and privacy. Or maybe some people have forgotten what having a filter is like, and why it's a good thing to have one.

Sometimes, it's best not to admit out loud that you have a crush on your professor. (Not to him, in any case.) No matter how much you love talking to him about travelling to what others consider to be disturbing vacation destinations or legendary American football games or post-cold-war politics and UN policy. Saying something would mean losing those conversations, and you don't want to lose that.

Sometimes, it's best not to acknowledge the way you band together with co-workers against your manager. It doesn't benefit anyone if you get called on it. Ever. If accusations fly, plausible deniability is higher if it's remained unspoken.

Sometimes, it's best not to tell an acquaintance how much they affect your mood for the better, how their very presence sometimes cheers you up in unspeakable ways. It would come out sounding like something it's not. You don't want to date. You don't even (necessarily) want to be friends. You just appreciate their smile or their kindness and you wish you could repay it somehow. You wish there was a way to let them know without sounding like a crazy person and sometimes there just isn't.

And maybe that's okay.

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