Originally posted December 2010

Do you ever feel like you are just too simple-minded? Too idealistic? Too “Pollyanna”? I sure do. For whatever reason, things are relatively black and white in my world. It is my nature to take people at face value, to believe what they say, to trust.

Not that my intuition doesn’t work – it does. When I am talking to someone or sitting in a group of people, I sometimes get a sense that there is more than meets the eye. I get this hinky feeling like there is a bunch of stuff going on in the background the details to which I am not privy. It’s an uncomfortable feeling that I don’t like or appreciate, and many times I feel like I am just not savvy enough to figure out all the plots and schemes and hidden agendas in the room.

Why do people behave like this? Drives me crazy. Maybe sometimes the reason is historical/relational stuff between the other people in the conversation, stuff that is none of my business and I don’t need to know about. That’s fine, no skin off my nose. But when I am in a situation where I am making decisions, and I get the feeling that I am being ”worked”, I really resent it. Why assume that I won’t make the preferable decision if I were approached honestly? And why must people incessantly put their own agendas ahead of the well-being of the whole?

Most often in this type of situation I will just keep asking probing questions until I can get a sense of what is really going on. But sometimes I’m in a situation where I absolutely cannot find out what the elephant is by asking good questions and getting extra information.

In those instances I figure I just have to conduct myself in the most straightforward manner I can and let other people’s circuitous ways be their issue, not mine. Usually, the truth eventually comes out one way or another. But even if it doesn’t, I figure I can only be in charge of my own conduct. The problem is that in order to understand what is really going on when someone is trying to play me, I’d have to start thinking like them. If I am not “sophisticated” enough to understand how schemers and manipulators work, oh well. As long as I am managing my behaviour in forthright fashion, I will be able to lay my  head on the pillow at night with a clear conscience. Call me simple; I’ll gladly keep it that way.