Avoidance, Hatred, Indifference...Learn the Friggin' Difference

Some would argue that indifference is crueler than hatred.  For you to hate someone, you have to have cared about them first (which is why people often confuse hatred with fear).  So if you hate someone, and they know it, then their little claim to fame is that once upon a time, you actually cared about them.

But if you're indifferent towards them, that means they don't even make a bleep on your relevance meter.  Hence why some people avidly seek bad publicity or negative attention of any sort; it is attention, after all, and often it's the only kind they can get (think of children with shitty parents and teachers).

I'm indifferent to a lot of things and people in my personal life, and I've noticed that this only increases the older I get.  I learned about indifference at an early age from my father (though he prefers to call it "detachment").  My father is a highly logical man (he actually teaches it for a living), and he always tried to encourage me to focus on what really mattered to me, and to be honest about my intentions.  So if I didn't care about someone or something, I had a duty to let people know up front.

What my father failed to prepare me for, however, was people's reactions to indifference, especially women.  I hate it to say it, but I loathe how most women react to indifference.  See, men are more used to not registering on someone's radar because women, naturally, tend to draw more attention.  So if you're indifferent towards a man, he's more likely to recognize it and move on.  Women, however, tend to be in denial.  In fact, some women can't even fathom how someone could just not care about them, especially if they've slept with that person or borne them children.  So they start confusing "indifference" with everything under the sun.

It's not avoidance

There's a woman I know who often confuses indifference with avoidance (we'll call her Virginia).  Whenever a guy dumps Virginia, moves out, marries/dates another woman, and overall gets on with his life, if he doesn't call Virginia or text her or spend any time with her, then she thinks he's being "avoidant".

Cue Psych 101 refresher:
In avoidance, we simply find ways of avoiding having to face uncomfortable situations, things or activities. The discomfort, for example, may come from unconscious sexual or aggressive impulses.

Avoidance may include removing oneself physically from a situation. It may also involve finding ways not to discuss or even think about the topic in question.

...Avoidance is a simple way of coping by not having to cope. When feelings of discomfort appear, we find ways of not experiencing them.

According to the dynamic theory, avoidance is a major defense mechanism in phobias.

Procrastination is another form of avoidance where we put off to tomorrow those things that we can avoid today.  (Source)
In other words, it's a form of denial.

Ironically, this is where women's denial often comes into play; they tell themselves so-and-so isn't over them, that it's the other person who hasn't moved on, and that the other person is the one prolonging things.  Meanwhile, there's like a 99.99999% chance the other person isn't even thinking about them.  The other person isn't meeting with them, talking to them, or making an effort to see them because the other person has no need to.  As cruel as it sounds, it's true; if you don't serve a purpose of some sort, people will dismiss you as irrelevant.

Being dismissed and being avoided are two entirely different things.

It's not hatred

Very few people in this world have actually come face to face with true hatred.  True hatred is often borne of love betrayed; thus what people often consider hate is actually fear and insecurity (think racism and sexism).

So trust and believe: the day you come across someone who actually hates you, there will be no confusion or misunderstanding.  They won't be a stranger, you will have a shared history, and they'll make you long for the halcyon days of indifference.

It's sure as hell not repressed love

No, no, no, no, no.  Indifference is not "shyness".  It's not a carefully masked, unrequited crush; it's not playing hard to get.  Indifference is not some tortured, emo soul withholding their love for whatever bullshit reason people come up with these days - it's just indifference.

I used to think people would be relieved to learn I didn't care about them nearly as much as they thought.  After all, that's how I feel when I learn I don't matter to someone.  Shit...that's one less person to have to worry about.  That's a massive obligation reduction right there; you can strike them off the list and keep going.  But, alas; we've got a lot of lonely, insecure attention-seekers out here and they tend to make life difficult.  It's like they just don't know when to shut up and go away.

They simply can't accept it when they're not The One.

Fashion Tips from Moi

1) Are you always the one calling or visiting?  Do you find yourself randomly offering to buy things because you think it'll draw another person?  Does the other person always seem too busy for you or consistently uninterested in what you have to say?  Do you find yourself getting impatient when they're talking to someone else?  Do you dwell on events that the other person has clearly moved on from and often forgotten about?  If so, survey says....

2) If you feel someone views you as irrelevant, it's time to pack your shit and go.  Don't try to change their mind.  Don't throw a temper tantrum.  And do not beg.  If you've had the misfortune to suddenly realize you've been in a friendship/romantic relationship all by yourself this whole time, that's your cue to gather the tattered shreds of your dignity and bounce.

3) Once you go...stay gone.  I'm talking radio silence and everything.  Don't call/text/email someone to "remind" them you've gone - they know you're gone.  They just don't care.

4) Know your position.  Don't issue any ultimatums; don't hold the other person's stuff for ransom.  When you get left - and are the very last person to know you got left - you're not in a position to be making demands.  In college, one of my best buds got left.  I mean, his girl packed all her shit and left him sobbing and mewling for days - that kind of "left".  Dude had the balls to call her and say shit like, "You owe me closure" and "If you come back, we're gonna make some changes" - say what????  Um...you got left!!!

And no, she never went back to him.

In conclusion, I get it; indifference still hurts.  It can be an ego-bruiser, especially if the other person is a former lover, your child's parent, your relative, or a former friend.  Indifference can leave you questioning your self-worth and wondering how to make yourself more relevant.

Even so, that's between you and your therapist, boo.  Leave the rest of us out of it.


  1. This right here...are you reading my mind????????????????????????????????

    Your next ten Kinky Popsicles are on me.

    I shall be linking to the most recent posts here in my next phase of relationship posts in the Dark.

  2. This is a hard lesson to learn. When people don't return attention the you show them, time to let it go and move on. I have learned this the hard way and have had to cut my losses and make room for new opportunities. That's why I don't worry about having friends anymore. If friends leave, there is always someone else around the corner. If a guy is not into me, I get off the track and re-route.

    Actually, I have to disagree about guys being more used to indifference from women then women from men. In some cases, they are more affected, especially if they think you had a thing for them at one time. I've noticed that if I stop paying attention to a guy I have lost interest in (do to his mistreatment or him just not being into me), that affects him on some level. Like he can't believe I don't care for him or have any feelings for him anymore. Then he tries to redouble his efforts to get on my good side to garner some attention and ego stroking from me.

    This is Krystal from Blogger.

  3. This is definitely a hard one. I moved to a new state a year ago. Trying to make new friends and keep in touch with old ones. I know that the people who can't be bothered to contact me are indifferent cause if you've lost someone's phone number it is not that hard to email/facebook/linkedin them if you cared to keep in touch. Last summer I was hanging out a lot with someone I met at work. Thought we were friends. A few months passed without her inviting me to hang out, sent her a text message and she didn't know who it was. Said she'd lost her phone. She sees me all the time at work and acts friendly but never bothered to ask for my number again. Clearly I was not on her list of people it was important to keep in touch with. Mom still encourages me to make friends like I'm in day care or something. Friendship is a 2 way street, we both have to want it.

    1. Indeed, and there are those who get off on being the dismissive ones. So if you're not hurt enough or upset enough, they pitch a fit.

      I was wondering if you'd moved yet. I remember reading about how unhappy you were where you were.

    2. I'm definitely happier in my new city but it still takes time to build a new social network, especially since I'm an introvert.

  4. Tell me if you can help me out with this one... When I was in college, I met several guys who accused me of liking them and wanting them when I had absolutely ZERO feelings for them at all save annoyance from their false accusations. One guy I thought was my pal as we met up once a week to work on MUSIC and nada else, said to me, "My girlfriend wouldn't like you texting me." And, "I know you like me romantically and all, but I have a girlfriend." All this when I had not ever proclaimed any such thing as liking him romantically or caring that he had a girlfriend. I felt nothing for this dude but total ordinary alliance. I have never been attracted to him and I actually found him repulsive, but I hid that out of politeness. Either way, I never so much as flirted with him and I cannot fathom why he came at me with these false accusations. But.... this had happened with other guys, too. It's like they just can't accept that I truly never liked them. To be fair, it is rare that I get a crush on a guy. It has only happened maybe 3 times in my life. I really, truly can't understand this. What's the deal here? It's feels like a very offensive insult to me when I am accused of liking someone I feel nothing for or completely unattracted to.

  5. Thank you for this. I needed it despite the fact I have come to the realization that her indifference is more painful than hatred.

    It's been 4 months since breakup. At first she was angry when I said I couldn't be friends, so I stayed friends thinking it would leave a door open to reconciliation. ... wrong. 3 months later she became indifferent. Now, after a heart to heart she says she hopes we can stay friends but if not, she understands.

    She doesn't text or call often and never asks how I am doing or whats up in my life. Indifferent.

    I saw her this week for the first time in 5 months. I flew out to see her (we live in different states). When I left I texted her I was waiting for plane. No text saying have a nice/safe flight and no text the next day asking if I made it home safely. Indifferent.

    I am done. I get the message. She does not care anymore. Period. Time to lick my wounds and move on. Easier said than done...


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