Many people imply not caring what others think to be a virtue. They ask “Why do you care what other people think?” or say “You care too much what other people think.”
People have said it to you. They’ve said it to everyone. You’ve said something like it.
Well, just like suggesting to calm down or take it easy is usually a jerk move by an annoying person, pretending not to care what other people think and implying others care too much is hypocritical, insensitive, self-important, and antagonistic.
Let’s see why.
They are hypocritical because humans are social. We all care what other people think. That person has friends and family they respect and listen to, they dress according to norms of their community, etc. The person saying you shouldn’t care what other people think cares what other people think.
By talking to you, they’re implying you should care what they say or they wouldn’t say anything.
They are insensitive because the person usually says it when something matters to you but not them, implying they don’t understand or refuse to recognize your values. They implicitly say you shouldn’t care about what you care about and that you should only care about what they care about.
If what matters to you matters to you, who are they to say otherwise? If they believe you would benefit from their view — that you should care what they are saying — they could communicate their criticism constructively, rather than offering unsolicited advice. Or recognizing other people’s values differ from theirs. If they have a problem with that, it’s their problem, not yours.
They are self-important for implying their values are more important than yours.
They are antagonistic because of when they offer their unsolicited advice. You just implied you cared about something. You showed emotions. Then they say you shouldn’t have those emotions and shouldn’t care about that thing. Even if changing your emotions would help you, saying it then in that way provokes you to defend your views. You had a problem and now they’ve given you another.
Compassion and empathy will probably help most.
If you notice someone getting excited about something you think is overblown, why not ask them why? You may learn something new. At worst you’ll understand someone better.
If you think you could help them, first consider their values may work for them even if not for you. Are you sincerely trying to help them or are you meddling or trying to make yourself feel better, perhaps at their expense?
If someone says something like that to you, you may do well to ignore them or suggest that if they intend to help that they aren’t helping.
I like to point out I care what other people think and respond appropriately.
Learn to make Meaningful Connections
with a simple, effective exercise from my book, Leadership Step by Step.
- Step by step instructions
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