On Saturday evening I was had the pleasure of attending a holiday party at the home of two lovely people that I know, one of which I’ve known since I was 20 years old, in my undergrad years. In fact, we lived in the same residence together while at UBC. The majority of the other attendees at the party were also people whom I met when I 20 years old, when we all lived in the same residence as well. As a bit of a tangent, I’ve noticed my friends come from four main groups: people from undergrad, people from grad school, people from the games industry, and people in a miscellaneous category. I hate to paint these groups with a wide brush and there are certainly exceptions but I think each group has a slightly different perception of me as a person. I think this stems from when each group first met me and who I was as a person at that time.
Back to the last night’s party in any case. There was one guy there whom I’ve known since his first year at UBC. I wouldn’t say we’re friends but we are merely acquaintances. I see him perhaps twice a year, sometimes only once a year. For as long as I’ve known him, he’s had a sarcastic side to him but I know deep down inside, he’s a good person because he treats his real friends with genuine friendship. During the party, we talked about half a dozen times. It didn’t dawn on me immediately but after a while I realized he had some sorta backhanded compliment, verbal jab, or some joke at my expense every single time we talked. I distinctly remember the last conversation we had in the evening, he made some stupid joke about me, which no one really laughed about and in my mind I just thought, “so are you done yet?” as the people around us just kept awkwardly silent. It was at that point I made a huge realization that going back I don’t know how many years, the summation of my interaction with this guy was, for the most part, a series of conversations where he just made every other comment some verbal jab at me or some joke at my expense. There was the odd time where we talked about something normal but I think that was the exception.
For those of you, my loyal readers, who know me well, I think it’s fair statement to say that I don’t have thin skin. I have a good sense of humour and I can take the odd jab directed at me all in stride. It’s when you suddenly realize that your whole interaction with one person is basically based on how many digs he can direct towards you, that’s the point when you know something is wrong. Now we did have two short conversations last night that were somewhat normal. He told me about some tax tips for contractors and then he said we should play Xbox 360 together sometime. I even copied his Xbox Live tag down but when I got home, I thought, “why the fuck would I ever want to play an online game with this guy?”. I feel terrible for writing this but as it currently stands, I’d rather play online with dozens of other people before I’d even go into a lobby with this guy.
I’m trying to play armchair psychologist and trying to figure out why he acts this way to me and not other people (at least not as badly). One theory is that he genuinely has very little or no respect for me. I think perhaps he sees me as some dude he met along with his other real friends and I’m some sorta mascot that’s just part of the whole deal. I often get the feeling that when he’s talking to me, he’s doing me a favour by letting me interacting with him. It’s very condescending. Most of the time after we end our conversation, it feels like he was talking to me as if I was mentally-challenged person even though I have no helmet on. The other theory I have is that he actually respects me as a person but he either thinks it’s ok or doesn’t even know about all the stuff he says to me. I’d like to think the second theory is more plausible but either theory is still pretty shitty.
So the question remains, what should I do going forward? I think the mature and correct thing to do would be to tell him, the next time I see him, that I think he’s been very disrespectful to me most of the time and we should talk about why he treats me the way he does. Yeah, that’s the mature and correct thing to do but to be honest, it’s gonna be at least another six months before I see him again and it’s gonna be some random bullshit conversation on the street when we just happen to bump into each other. I sure as hell won’t go out of my way to get a hold of this guy and hammer out a peace accord. Again, I hate to be brutally honest but that’s not something that’s on the top of my “to do” list for a guy that I run into twice a year. It feels really bad to write that but it’s the truth. Now, I gotta be clear, I don’t wish the guy any bad luck or ill will towards him. I think he treats his real friends quite nicely and they cherish his friendship, so you know he’s got some good qualities.
Now some of you are probably wondering if it was a good idea to write this post given how anyone can read this. To be frank, he doesn’t read my blog. Do you think a guy like that is pounding away at F5 on his keyboard every morning to see what drivel I’ve written? No chance in hell. Now there’s a possibility someone might send him the link to this post but I don’t care, if he reads it, whatever, it’s about time he knows what I feel anyways. Then the next time we meet, we can dismiss with the pleasantries and get down to a more meaningful conversation.
I think if I were younger, I might just let this slide and not saying anything, just because we don’t see each other so often. It might be another six months or a year before this gets resolved but whatever, I won’t lose any sleep over it. I’ve gotten too old to chase after people to get their undying approval.