Advice that sucks: “Don’t Take it Personally!” — BUT I DO!

Yes, I take it personally! (photo: Eva Napp)

Don’t you just love it when people, friend or foe, are doing or saying something— and hastily add to it a, “Don’t take that personally!”

Sometimes I’m in the mood to punch a hole in all the daily pretenses and charades and empty phrases. Here’s a phrase that I keep hearing more than ever from just about everybody — even very close friends. Two of them are particularly busy, like we all are, aren’t we? I haven’t seen either of them in many months, and God knows I’ve tried it with all kinds of tricks and seductive offers. I know that’s supposed to be just normal life, I’m supposed to find that acceptable. But their attempts at making this a non-issue has become an issue I have with them. They say: “Don’t take it personally!” No? How am I supposed to take it?

The point is, I LIKE to take things personally, I think it creates an interesting challenge — even closeness — and makes for lively, honest conversations that even lead to something, like discoveries about each other! I also not only like to take things personally, I like people to take ME and the things I do and say personally, because I’m a person who tries to be as personal as possible. Why? Because it gives me a soft, warm, emotional and personal feeling. It glosses over my insecurities and makes me feel like being “seen”, recognized, something we all crave, no matter how silly that is.

Of course, there are things I definitely don’t take personally or really don’t care about one way or another. Like when a dog would try to bite me, or if the bus driver doesn’t smile, or when a homeless lets down his pants in broad day light and starts peeing into the street — a daily sight in Hollywood. Nope, not taking any of that personally. As for the rest. If you want to get a point across, need to throw in some criticism about me, have a real different opinion about explosive topics, don’t say to me, “Don’t take that personally!” Make it personally! It could be wonderfully authentic. And I can take it. Really!


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