by Jay Johansen | Mar 19, 2022
I've had a few times that I got into a personal argument with someone, and a few days later they came back and informed me, "I told some of my friends about our argument, and they all agreed that I was in the right."
I have to laugh at this. Even assuming that the person is absolutely telling the truth, so what? Because think about what this statement means. I told my friends my side of the argument, and they said something that I interpreted to mean that they agreed with me. Think about each part of that.
My friends: Your friends are likely going to be biased to take your side. They are, after all, YOUR friends.
I told: You told them your side of the story. Did you fairly present my side? Probably not. I've had conversations over the years where someone, call him Al, tells me about an argument he had with, whoever, say Bob. And I think, Wow, Bob is really being a jerk. Then some time later Bob tells me his side and I think, Oh, so it's Al who was the jerk. Even if neither one outright lies, someone relating an argument he had with another person often exagerrates the other person's wrong-doing and conveniently forgets to mention his own. I recall an argument my brother and I had when we were kids. He told our mother, "He started it! He hit me back!"
They agreed with me: What did they actually say? Did they say, "Yes, you are clearly in the right and the other person is in the wrong"? Or did they say something equivocating, like "Wow, sounds like this disagreement is really getting out of hand"? And then you interpreted this equivocating statement as saying that you are in the right.
Frankly, "I told my friends about this and they all agree with me" proves pretty much nothing. These days I just disregard it when I hear it.
© 2022 by Jay Johansen
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