How to Tell If You’re Wasting Your Time on a Fool
The greatest defining trait of a fool: he takes himself way too seriously.
You know a fool when you see one. He might pass as a clown in civilian clothes and no makeup. Of course, he doesn’t give a damn about the art of clowning, or the people who practice it for a living — but his ordinary actions will often make you wonder where did he leave his red nose.
The truest of fools isn’t aware of his foolishness. He takes himself way too seriously to even consider he might be wearing that hat. Not him, he’s too clever.
The fool has limited to no sense of self-awareness, and he lets the fantasy of who he thinks he is overrun any perception of who he actually is.
The fool will give himself made-up titles. He won’t even blink when indulging in self-praise. He’ll do his best to bring people into his camp to praise and adore him, often by means of false promises. He tries very hard to make others see him as he’d like to be seen.
As sad as we may think it is to be a fool, the truth is that he’s quite content being who he is. He’s lost in a fantasy of his own importance — so he’s all set.
What’s truly sad is how much of your precious time you’re wasting on someone who’s not anywhere near seeing the light.
Here’s how to tell you’ve been caught on the web:
He keeps doing the same things — and you keep expecting a different result
You have some hope that he’ll change. Certainly, no one can be that oblivious, can they?
You know you shouldn’t let his desperation for attention get to you, but as soon as he makes a move, you’re there to watch. You hope this time it will be different. This time, he’ll realize he’s been making an ass of himself for a while, and he’ll change.
Right from the start you see he’s only making the same moves, executing the same routine, you’re the only one who thinks it can yield a different result.
He’s only doing it because he knows you’re watching. He’s pushing your buttons because he knows that it gives him an audience.
He won’t stop, so it’s up to you to give it an end by refusing to be an spectator of his little shit show.
He’ll mask his opinions with irony and sarcasm
Another mark of a fool is his constant need to save face by never owning to his opinions. Once he cloaks them in some form of irony, sarcasm, or joke, he thinks he can say wathever he wants and wait for a reaction to decide if he’s owning it or not.
If you agree with him, then he’s serious. If you disagree and want to argue, then it was “just a joke, will you relax?”
It’s hard for the fool to just say what he means. He needs that captive audience applauding him, he needs that entourage who thinks he’s great, so he can’t afford to ruffle any feathers — not directly, that is. Can’t you see the latest outrageous thing he said was just a joke?
Getting into an argument with him feels like a long session of “here we go again”
It’s been tough for you to help yourself. The things he does and says just gets to you — didn’t I warn you his specialty is pushing buttons?
You’ve tried to make him see reason a few times before, but he keeps making the same mistakes. You decide to try again, so you take a deep breath and brace yourself.
“Here we go again.”
If that’s the thought that comes to your mind, stop before you begin. You’re wasting your energy on someone who thinks too highly of himself, and who’s not about to change.
He has no humility, no willingness to learn — he thinks he knows everything there is to know.
If it feels like “here we go again,” you’re definitely wasting your time on a fool.
At an end of an argument with him, you feel a bit like a fool yourself
Try telling the fool he’s not wearing any clothes, and he might convince you to take yours off just to prove him wrong.
Argue with a fool, and you risk letting him bring you down to his level.
“Never argue with a fool, onlookers may not be able to tell the difference.”
The quote above is often attributed to Mark Twain, but the wisdom contained in it has become a popular saying, and for good reason.
If arguing with a fool makes you feel a bit of a fool, you’re wasting your time.
Protect your time from the fools around you
If you recognize any of the above behaviors, step away.
As tempting as it is to try to correct a fool, and as sorry as you are for him and how he comes across, don’t waste your time trying to change him. Chances are he’ll see your attempts to enlighten him as a testimony of your own ignorance — you just don’t see how great he is.
Seeing the emperor’s clothes, after all, isn’t for everyone.
As hard as it is, you have to let him be. He sees any attention, even negative attention, as something to be desired. He’ll keep trying to make you his audience by any means necessary. It’s up to you not to indulge.