One of the things I hate the most is where somebody will insist their response is the only one possible. Take my complaints about learning how to drive, for example. At the time, I was concerned about getting back and forth from places without having to rely on the Greyhound bus system (my school is in the middle of nowhere–the nearest city is over an hour away and has no cheap and reliable transportation to places outside the city). I was looking forward to a summer spent working full time and taking two time-consuming classes, and I was pretty much having an anxiety attack over the fact that I wouldn’t have any time to learn to drive.
Suitemate’s response? Make time. That’s what she had to do when she learned to drive, after all (she was sixteen).
A reply like this–and there was much arguing around it–is something I found extremely insensitive. Here I was clearly having an anxiety attack, and the only response she insists is appropriate is one that makes it ten times worse. She had no answer as to exactly how I should make time, or what time I had to spend learning how to drive, or how in the world I was actually going to get ahold of a car. Those were all my problems, she decided. The only useful advice she could give was “make time,” which she absolutely insisted was the only possible response. Nothing more was needed.
Regardless of the fact that she only managed to make my anxiety about the issue ten times worse. Regardless of the fact that this and other similar statements contributed greatly to my decision to stop speaking to her about things in my life. She spoke to me some time later about feeling as if she had to walk on eggshells around me. How the hell did she think I felt?
Fast forward to a week or so ago. One of my friends tells me to clean up my college stuff–it’s all in the living room because there is currently no other place to put it. I responded that I was working on it, but that most of it has nowhere to go. Her response: find room. When I continued to tell her that most of this stuff did not actually come from my room and so really doesn’t have anywhere other than a dorm room to be, she responded with “I don’t care. Find room.” She then proceeded to say that she was going to come over one day and we were going to clean it all up. When I told her that it doesn’t work like that for me–I can’t focus on things I’m not interested in and have to do them in five or ten minute intervals with long breaks in between, she responded with “Well, I’ll make you clean.”
I’m sorry, but something like this is more likely to make me stop what cleaning I’ve already been doing than make me more motivated. There is no way whatsoever that you can FORCE me to clean it all in one go–I will very likely fall asleep and will argue with you when you go to wake me up. Things like this will probably also make me stop talking to you for a long time.
The thing I don’t get is that my friend is huge into making sure people feel comfortable, making sure their needs are heard and met whenever possible. Yet when I try to explain my needs in this particular case, she responds with deeply insensitive remarks. I don’t think I’m being crazy. I legitimately cannot focus on a task I’m not invested in for more then fifteen minutes at a time at the most. I’ve never been able to get interested in cleaning. It makes me insanely tired, and I often do fall asleep. With my depression, I find it even more difficult concentrate on such tasks. For a friend who’s known me very, very well for the past ten years or so, I find it difficult to think she would be so insensitive to the things I go through on a daily basis.