Tuesday, October 19, 2010


Two recent events got me to thinking about how different people observe me. This particular situation is odd because although I tend to be quite conscious of my image, I never realized how different some people’s opinions of me actually are.

A recent conversation with my friend, S., began with him telling me that he has a joke to tell me that was a little inappropriate and I was his only friend that he felt comfortable telling. A little odd for a compliment, but I went with it. The joke was **JOKE HAS BEEN REMOVED FOR OBSCENITY** It wasn’t a bad joke, but clearly inappropriate.

The next week, I walked into a room where three of my friends who until that point had been talking and laughing loudly enough for me to hear bits and pieces of their conversation through the walls of the next room, immediately stopped their chatter when I walked through the door. Knowing full well what they were talking about and assuming that I knew why they stopped, I asked “What were you guys talking about?” Answer: “nothing.”

A conversation about something that seemed only semi-inappropriate in my eyes was apparently too vile for me to hear and be a part of. It certainly was not too unsuitable for me to simply be there and listen. However, it was apparently uncomfortable for these friends to continue such a conversation in front of me.

I’m not upset at either one. However, I would like to know what it is about people that causes their opinion of me to be different from one another. My current theory is that it has nothing to do with me. I’m wondering if it is simply who else they hang out with. Am I more apt than S. Lining’s other friends to talk about something like this? Am I less inclined to do so than the other group? I don’t know, but it’s the best I’ve got right now.


  1. As a rebbe of mine from Israel explained, everything is relative. Whatever a person grew up with, including family, friends, and the personal understanding of what is or isn't appropriate is considered "normal" to them. From that vantage point, everything else is either too this, or too that.

    My rebbe was specifically talking about within the world of frumkeit, where whatever it was that people grew up with (this was referring mostly to parents who never "flipped out" in Israel) was considered the standard for normality. Everyone else who's a little more religious is crazy-frum-ultra-orthodox, and anyone who observes anything less than them are fry (or whatever).

    I think the same thing is happening here, and you are simply being assigned to a different area of your friend's spectrum of what is innapropriate and who such things could be shared with.

  2. I agree with SOG.

    However I'm going to make a prediction and please correct me if I am wrong.

    S. Lining is older than you while the group of guys in the room were younger.

    Am I correct?