Overcoming My Own Double Standard

I have said for many years that I am open and accepting of everyone — race, religion, sexual orientation, gender, age, and so forth.

But I had to re-examine my opinion of myself when I realized that I was responding negatively to an invitation to attend another Spring social gala/dinner fundraiser in the gay world for a worthy cause. This time, in New York City, with the cost of tickets at various levels ranging from US$175 to well over US$3,000.

A friend (who is more on the level of acquaintance) sent me the invitation, saying, “I hope you guys will be there!” I rolled my eyes, and…

…thought, “no friggin’ way, and I’m going to tell him why!”

I began to write a long reply, explaining that I don’t stay up late (especially on weeknights), I hate to go to New York, my partner is ill, cannot travel, and hates social events in all forms, and topped it off with the fact that I think the event is overpriced (even though it is a fundraiser for a cause that I support) and that I can’t stand dressing up. Shirt, tie, suit… bleccchhh.

I realized that my visceral rejection of my friend’s invitation was my being stubbornly opinionated and judgmental, and is the opposite of what I say that I am — open and accepting.

Yeah, personally, I don’t like these kinds of events for all the reasons stated above, and probably many more. But my friend didn’t need to hear all that, and receive a boatload of rejection with an implication that I disapproved of him and the event.

The event is fine, and is something that many LGBT-supporting organizations do, because they know that the majority of gay men and women enjoy social events, like to dress up, and demonstrate visible support of a worthy cause. While my partner and I do not find such events fun — we even would classify them as awful (for us) — I have to realize that we are the exception. And my taking exception to an innocent invitation was not fair.

Thank goodness I re-read my message before I clicked on “send.” I deleted what I wrote originally and wrote back simply with, “thanks for your kind invitation. I’m sorry, we can’t make it.” That was it.

My friend replied with, “sorry you and your partner won’t be able to join us. Thanks for letting me know.”

That was it. No worries, no gay drama.

They say that half the battle is realizing that the problem exists in the first place. My problem: being judgmental about events and activities that I do not enjoy. I have to work on being less judgmental and just go with the flow.

Life is short: introspection isn’t such a bad thing, if it results in self-improvement.

1 thought on “Overcoming My Own Double Standard

  1. Thanks for the reminder, BHD. So often we’re so concerned about letting others know exactly how we feel about everything that we overlook the spirit in which a comment is offered or a gesture is made. I had a similar incident recently. I have been annoyed with someone at work for the past couple of weeks. Even the mention of the person’s name caused me to tense up. We both had to travel together recently and I was really dreading the experience. Working alongside each other, we laughed, talked, and I was forced to remember why I like working with this individual. I’m taking a page from your book. I’m going to remember that it’s not always me and what I think about something.

    –Kevin

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