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A back-handed compliment
By Dave Winer on Wednesday, May 02, 2012 at 11:38 AM.
"I think you're an okay person. Why do people say you're an asshole?" permalink
This used to happen a lot, not so much these days, but it still happens. permalink
What do you say when someone says that. There are so many things wrong with it. I don't even want to try to list them. permalink
I tend to want to respond with something approximating the truth. permalink
A picture named carlosBoozerSmall.gifThe "people" who say this, if there really are any, are doing it behind my back, not to my face. We both know that's not a highly principled thing to do, right?  permalink
I'd like to say I don't care, but I'm a human being, and we are approval-seeking animals. So when you say that, and it registers -- and believe me it registers -- my body chemistry reacts as if I've been threatened. I then have to have an internal conversation about it to compensate. "There really is no threat," I say to myself. And that's energy I'd rather not spend.  permalink
But maybe there is a threat. Who knows. It's such a vague statement. You know what, if you say that to me, you aren't being a friend. Maybe that's the best, simplest, thing to say. permalink
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