Rationalizations Mean You Are Never Wrong
Do you have people in your life who are self-delusional about their motivations?
Michael: “I don’t know anyone who could get through the day without two or three juicy rationalizations. They’re more important than sex.”
Sam Weber: “Ah, come on. Nothing’s more important than sex.”
Michael: “Oh yeah? Ever gone a week without a rationalization?”
I love it when someone says something completely self-serving and honestly believes they are not doing exactly what they purport not to have done. It’s similar to the non-apology apology. You know what I mean, the “I’m sorry if you thought I did something wrong.” apology. Or the equally insincere “Mistakes were made”, implying that of course those mistakes were made by other people, not by the person talking. Other examples include such awesome sentence starter phrases as “I’m not trying to offend…” [when I say something utterly offensive], “I am not being sexist when I say…” [something completely sexist] or “I probably shouldn’t tell you…[this thing that I clearly should not tell you].
Go with your first instinct, people! Don’t be sexist! Don’t be offensive! Or if you want to be, I can handle that too. Please, though, just OWN it. Say what you believe. I believe these people honestly think these explanations get them off the hook. They think a caveat such as “To be honest…” absolves them of any responsibility to be a decent human being. I mean, they warned you they were going to be honest, so whatever they say next is okay and you have no basis to complain about the very hurtful honest thing they said. I would love to live like that. No repercussions from what I say EVER.
Credit: Ty Templeton Art
Favorite New Rationalization
I’ve heard some doozie rationalizations in my life but I’m in love with this new one I heard recently. I was discussing my family health history to the doctor in his office a week ago. My family is as normal and as dysfunctional as any family. We’ve got some eccentrics, some crazies, and whatnot. I am answering the doctor’s questions about the mental health of my relatives and in-laws when the doctor gives me an incredulous look at some of my answers. I look at him quizzically so he assures me as he recounts the history back to me, “I’m not judging. I’m being descriptive.” Right. You are not judging [my shitty family history and poor life choices], you are just describing [my shitty family history and my poor life choices].
To be honest, Doctor, for a minute I thought maybe you were being an asshole but pretending not to be.