The Dangers Of Judging Others Through Sh*t Talking

There’s not much I love more than a good shit-talking session.

I hate to admit it, but going out for drinks with my friends or my boyfriend and just unleashing my feelings about the asshole who screamed at me at work today or the lady who cut me off in the grocery store feels really good, mostly because I’m an insecure person who is saddened by these interactions and I need to get it out (too real?).

I know I’m not the only person who talks crap, in fact I’m sure nearly everyone does it, excluding those who drink a lot of water and run when sad because I’m assuming they are too busy being too good for it all. But it is weird to me how many people I know about simply from these shit talking sessions.

There are tons of people I know simply from these negative interactions, people who my friends hate and I laugh at their interactions with because, hey how am I supposed to know any better? From what I know they’re terrible. There’s that one weird guy my friend went on a date with who showed her his school band video and that one guy from my friend’s high school who pantsed her in front of a guy she liked. They bring them up and I nod and laugh like I know exactly what they’re talking about, as if I was there and know them personally.

And that lead me to wonder how many people know me only from their friends’/dads’/hairdressers’ shit talking sessions? It’s kind of egotistical to assume people care enough to talk crap about you, but I have to imagine it happens. To other people, I’m the stupid girl who messed up their important thing at work, or that weird girl who was crying on the subway this morning, or some girl I went to high school with who cares too much about feminism and Joe Biden. To some people, they have an emotional, very personal feeling about me despite never even being in the same room with me. I exist in a way that I can’t control and is completely made up by their perception of me.

And for some reason that bothers the shit out of me.

It blows my mind that an entire person’s life, their hopes and fears and loves and losses, can be boiled down to another person’s words whether true or false, whether born from genuine feelings or their own feelings of jealousy and insecurity. We spend a lot of time trying to reassure ourselves that the names people call us or the way they make us feel inferior does not define us as people, but to their friends who don’t know us, all we are is that definition. There is no way around it.

But that doesn’t mean it doesn’t piss me off.

It’s an incredibly frustrating thing to know that other people’s word of mouth or casual remittance of my actions means more in some eyes than all the good I could ever do. This isn’t a case of not letting other people’s opinion get you down, because it’s not something you can ever really know about or control. It’s like an alternate universe.

I wish this could be some inspirational piece about how we should imagine people more complexly or how we should stop talking crap, but it genuinely blows my mind that there are entire people essentially that live inside other people’s minds.

I don’t want to discourage people from shit-talking or venting their feelings because it’s going to happen whether I like it or not and honestly, sometimes it’s just necessary. But, I would like to challenge you to think about whether or not what you think about someone is a product of reality or the weird reality that lives in your mind. The world exists way outside of our minds and our reality is not everyone’s or even the truth.

So, the next time you roll your eyes at that “typical behavior” or a dude you don’t even know, think a little deeper.

View Comment (1)
  • I appreciate your honesty here! I try very hard, and very carefully, to choose my words when talking about others. I do not believe in sh*t talking and I don’t feel good when I do it. I think it was years of hearing certain friends talk poorly about others that made me question: are they talking about me too?

    Thanks for sharing!


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