I have come to realize that I am intolerant of those who are intolerant. Ironic, isn’t it? Does that make me one of the people that I cannot tolerate? And is that a bad thing, or a good thing?
After having to spend time around several people who have come and gone in my life who are the intolerant type, I’ve come to the conclusion that those who are intolerant are also usually not going to really listen when you object to their intolerances. I guess they also don’t tolerate debate, when it comes to their opinions.
When I say these people are intolerant, it might mean many things…impatient, unaccepting, closed-minded, prejudiced, biased, racist, egotistical, narcissistic…the list goes on and on. And when I say I am intolerant of them, it means I cannot abide by their attitudes, beliefs and behaviors. Some of these intolerant types seem like pretty nice folks on the surface, but are sitting on some very strong stereotypes. It’s like a time bomb or a tripwire. Just walking along, having a nice time, and then, BAM!
Now don’t get me wrong…it’s perfectly fine by me if you want to be any of the things on that list…everyone is entitled to their beliefs. But once you start spouting off about it, or trying to get others to believe what you believe, or start to exhibit abusive behavior towards others, then you’d better check yourself. At least if you’re around me.
Gosh, that sounds threatening, like I’m some tough guy who will set you straight. And there’s part of my problem with this…I’m a wimp. Or maybe, better put, I’m non-confrontational. I’ll do just about anything to avoid a conflict or confrontation. So when I am in the company of one of these intolerant people who starts voicing his or her opinions, or treating someone in an unacceptable manner, I tend to cringe inwardly, and shift my eyes. Maybe develop a nervous tic, or even leave the scene.
I tend to retreat for a couple of reasons. One is I don’t want to engage in this conflict. I’ve learned it doesn’t do any good, and likely would just get the person more fired up. The other reason is that I get so angry and frustrated upon hearing the intolerant rant that I’m afraid I’m going to start in on that pointless rebuttal in a not-so-nice way, and then become known as one of those intolerant types. I’m sure there will even be those that are intolerant of this piece, and that’s ok. Just don’t tell me, ok?