The hesitant skeptic  

rm_MariGrrl 39F
2485 posts
3/30/2006 11:48 am

Last Read:
4/17/2006 9:39 pm

The hesitant skeptic

I have been on this site now for about 5 months and have heard some really outlandish stories from some of the chatters on this site. I have this nasty habit of always wanting to believe the best in people, so unfortunately this can make me a bit naive sometimes. It usually begins the same, a newcomer wanders into the chat room with some far fetched tale of woe. My bullshit detector goes crazy. My first instinct is to tell them to take a hike. But, then I pause and wonder shouldn't I give them the benefit of the doubt. After all, life is often stranger than fiction. So I shoot out some words of encouragement and try to move on. Some of these people, however, just don't let it rest at that. Am I too much of a bleeding heart? It really saddens me to think about how suspicious many of us have come to be of new faces (or handles). I wonder how many decent people I've shut out and lumped in with all the phonies and liars.

The most recent example of this was a man who came into the chat room I was in. He was upset because his wife (a survivor of sexual abuse) had set herself on a downward spiral and refused to get help. Being a sexual abuse survivor myself, I reached out to offer him comfort and advice. This is not something that I generally discuss about myself. But, I have come to terms with it and no longer feel the shame that I used to. Then one of the regulars in there (who I trust and have chatted with quite often) warned me that this guy was full of it and had been in several times before spouting crazy scenarios. Its hard to even describe how I felt at that moment. I was still polite to him. I didn't want to turn cold just in case he was being sincere. But, it really angered me to think that someone would cry wolf on so sensitive an issue as this. If he was full of shit, he's a damn good liar because he really had me going. If not, its sad that the actions of others have turned some of us into such skeptics.


Ginnung 37M

3/30/2006 1:26 pm

My question to you is: why do you let it bother you? I'm not arguing that inventing a story for sympathy is reprehensible behaviour, but in your example you chose to be angry because someone is lying to you about something that, really, doesn't effect you.

I had a friend back in high school, who told a lot of outlandish stories about his family. I realized immediately that they were probably fabrications, but I didn't particularly care because he wasn't lying about things that mattered to me. Eventually, he started making mistakes, and I knew he was lying to me, but again, it wasn't a big deal because he was lying about things that didn't matter.

Your example sounds very similar to me. Let's assume that he was lying to you. What was your stake in his story? Has hearing it in any way changed your life? I know the thought of him lying to you made you angry, but you've chosen to focus on that. Why?

On a slight tangent, I see the problem here being somebody looking for sympathy. That isn't productive, whether it's a legitimate story of not. It actually makes the problem worse by helping the person wallow in self-pity rather than moving on. I don't provide sympathy, but I do offer advice. Whether or not the situation is real, and whether or nto they take my advice, doesn't really matter. Offering people advice helps me explore my own beliefs and thoughts, and helping people is a pleasant but unnecessary side-effect.


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