If you don’t think “sensitive” is an insult, I’m not talking to you. But if you do, lend me your ear for a second.
I’m not mad at you. Or accusing you of anything. Or talking down to you. At the very least, none of that is my intent, but you’ll take it how you take it. All I’m asking is you hear me out. Okay?
If you’re still here, beautiful. Thanks.
On one level, I get it. I do. You say something, someone got hurt, and you don’t have a clue why it happened. Clearly, they’re just being sensitive, and you didn’t do anything wrong. They took it wrong.
Some people, they intend to hurt those around them, but most people, we don’t. Words happen, feelings get hurt, and you don’t want it to be your fault. Especially if it happens often. I do it all the time. Yeah, I’m terrible about it. Stupid falls out of my face, and the next thing I know, people I love are mad at me. Hell if I want it to be my fault.
Just as often, if not more so, I’m on the other end. It might be a friend trolling me as a joke and going too far. It might be one of my students trying to get a rise out of me. It might be a fellow teacher who doesn’t want to listen to me. It might be an off-hand comment that mashes that big red button in my thick skull.
Why doesn’t matter so much for this point. My feelings were hurt. Because I’m sensitive.
I am. I’m all kinds of sensitive. The thing the negative connotation of the word doesn’t represent is emotional sensitivity is the whole range. My favorite high is an emotional one. And I can make it to space on it. I’ll be driving home from a good day at work and bust out in giddy laughter at how amazing it was. One second, I’m singing along to Barenaked Ladies, then I’m giggling for five minutes. I’m so damn pleased with myself.
My emotions leave a huge impact on me, too. If you leave a consistent good impression on me, I’ll continue to believe that good feeling about you for a whole slew of bad stuff. I’ll doubt any bad thing said about you. I’ll emotionally take your side in a fight. (If it’s against another friend, that doesn’t mean I’ll actually take your side, though, because dragging other friends into fights that make them jeopardize their friendship with someone else is a dick move. Don’t do it. Plus, I’m probably on both sides, in that case which is emotionally totally possible.)
You leave a consistent bad impression on me, though, I’ll be upset at the mere mention of you. I’ll acknowledge you’re capable of being a good person, but I won’t want any of it near me. Whatever good you might do, whatever you might think of me, go do it somewhere else, thanks. I might hate you, but that’s rare. Usually, all I want is for you to stay away from me so my entire existence near you doesn’t suck.
That’s what being sensitive is. It’s everything amplified. The hurt is amplified, but the joy is, too. So, when you say, “you’re too sensitive,” you’re damn right I am. I feel everything. And when the getting’s good, there’s nothing like it. It has the side effect that, yeah, sometimes I get a bruised heart at the turn of a phrase.
You know what’s way worse than the fact you hurt my feelings, though? The fact you won’t admit it. Calling me “sensitive” when it happens is blaming it on me. No, you didn’t mean to, I believe you. I do it on accident all the time. To the people I most want to never see hurt. I’ll get over it, maybe even as fast as it happened, if you don’t try to pass off the blame.
Sit down. Let’s talk about what happened. What you said. Why you said it. If you mean it. What you meant, if it didn’t come out right. If it’s true, why I need to hear it. Because if you don’t sit down and tell me these things yourself, my brain will come up with answers on its own. My brain’s answers probably won’t match yours. And either: A) you’ll come out the worse in those answers, or B) I will, further damaging my self-image, and making my heart bruise even easier.
No one wins if I answer those questions for you. It doesn’t have to be right that second. Cool down if you need to. Preferably, tell me you need to instead of storming out without a word, but hey, you do you.
So, look, being sensitive is just as much a good thing as it is a bad thing. Don’t use it like you’re calling me names. I can be very forgiving, but I’m not interested in forgiving something you won’t admit you did. I’m sensitive, remember?