Well if I were you. . .
Statements like those are among the most annoying and without reason. People use them to justify their judgement of others and to impose their own beliefs and choices on someone that is not them.
I pride myself in saying that I’m one of the most understanding people out there. Truthfully, I can be unbiased and listen to someone even if their choice, words or action impact me. It’s a blessing and a curse but I wouldn’t change that about myself. I can’t say that I was always this way but I am now, and that is what matters most.
I get frustrated when people aren’t of the same mindset. Now, I do give room for differences of opinion but one thing that is truly important for me is to be heard and for people to know where I’m coming from. Sometimes, people can’t hear because they are too busy waiting for a pause in your sentence to tell you where they are and why you should do things in the manner that they choose.
I have a group of really close friends and honestly I can talk to most strangers without revealing everything about myself. Interacting with people has always been an interest of mine. BUT some people don’t know how to properly execute boundaries. I find this the most challenging in disclosing or the avoidance of disclosure about my parents. After a reasonable amount of time, people start asking questions. “Hey Johanna, so I never hear you talk about your dad.” To which I respond vaguely and say something like, “eh, he isn’t one of those types of dads that deserve to be mentioned.” That brings on the judgement, and sermons. The, you only have one dad ones, the but he is your father, he can’t be that bad. If I were you I would reach out. Well. . .thanks but no thanks. I don’t have the time in the day to be laborious about making people understand where I am coming from nor the interest. It drives me crazy when people poke their noses where they don’t belong and it above all else infuriates me to no avail. I can handle people like this, but not everyone can. People need to learn how to accept the answer to some questions. I know that I’m on a soap box right now because I’m the same person who loves to ask why. I love learning things and understanding people better but I also know how to pick up on social cues and drop things when someone feels uncomfortable.
That’s why the if I were you mind set is flawed. People like to claim they are taking a walk in someone else’s shoes without fully immersing themselves in the other person. If I were you, I would do A, B, and C. But really, take a second and look at the situation. We get into this habit of thinking that we know what is best for someone but truly, if we were them, we would be making the same exact decisions and choices that they make, exactly as they have made them. We would have the same fears and understanding, we would look into the mirror and see the same person. We wouldn’t be us, as them. We all are exactly who we are because of our experiences, our perception and every moment up to to the next hello. No sense in expecting a different outcome from someone who isn’t you. I think that the next time we are faced with a situation we don’t agree with or understand, it is best to take our socks off before we try to take a walk in someone else’s shoes. There is no other way.