I remember, as a teenager, being at a lake with some other teens. The boys kept trying to push the girls off the dock – except me, whom they ignored – and the girls kept squealing and running away.
Unexpected water is torture to me, so there’s no way I’m going to let a fellow girl go through that while it’s in my power to keep her safe. I said to the girls, “Stay by me, I’ll protect you!”
They didn’t, of course. They pretended not to hear my generous offer, suffered the consequences, and then had the nerve to complain about it. Ridiculous!
They could have avoided my inner ridicule by simply stating the truth: “Thanks, but we don’t actually want the boys to stop pushing us. The water isn’t that bad, and it’s worth the risk for the attention we’re getting.”
They didn’t care what I thought of them, though. I didn’t care what they thought of me, either. I felt like the only logical person there, though the hidden logic of their actions dawned on me years later.
I wish I’d trusted that their actions made sense in their own minds. I wish I’d made an effort to discover their reasons. I wish they’d made an effort to discover mine, too.