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6rant6's avatar

When people say, "I don't care what anyone thinks about me," is that a defense mechanism?

Asked by 6rant6 (13672points) January 14th, 2011

Just checking my experience against Fluther’s.

The people I’ve heard say (or seen write), “I don’t care what other people say about me,” seem to be the ones most affected by what other people think. It seems they are saying it to pre-empt negative comments. But in fact they are prone to hurt feelings.

“I am not prepared to do anything to alter your inevitable opinion of me,” seems closer to the truth.

Does that meet with your experience?

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15 Answers

Smashley's avatar

Maybe a little bit. It seems more like an ideal that people who are often incorrectly (or correctly) judged, will aspire to. At the beginning, it is more akin to a defense mechanism, but gradually you begin to actually believe it. If you live by acting as if you don’t care what people think, you don’t play into peoples prejudices and you realize that they’re not as powerful as you had thought. Eventually, you really don’t care what they think.

Taciturnu's avatar

Depending on the situation, yes, I agree. @Smashley had a pretty good answer.

I really don’t care what people I will never see again think of me, but that doesn’t hold true with people I would see on a regular basis.

janedelila's avatar

Shit. You been to my profile??

incendiary_dan's avatar

It probably means that often enough to suspect it when someone says it. Otherwise, it could just mean that the person is a genuinely apathetic or egotistical person.

Axemusica's avatar

I didn’t really care to post anything on this topic, but I thought you needed the input of someone who doesn’t care. So, I cared enough to put forth this much.

Who cares?

SavoirFaire's avatar

I agree that “I am not prepared to do anything to alter your inevitable opinion of me” is closer to the truth. Being aloof is just as much a pose as any of the other characters we play in life. If you care enough to make the statement, you care. Hell, if you’re on the internet arguing about things, you at least care what somebody thinks. Maybe you don’t care what everyone thinks, but certainly somebody.

I’ll admit that I care. Not about certain people, but definitely about others. I want people I respect to respect me. I want to be friendly with them. It’s nice. Living as one person against the world might be a romantic idea for some, but it is both tiring and unsatisfying. I’m not afraid to disagree with my friends, but I’m also not stupid enough to antagonize them at every turn. It’s not worth it.

6rant6's avatar

@Axemusica Nothing says you care like…uh… being…vague, I suppose.

@janedelila Who me? What could i possibly have found so interesting about you that I would have checked out your profile? (Vague enough to show I care?)

@SavoirFaire I suppose you can’t win ‘em all. No matter how good we try to be, someone is going to judge us for some fault or other.

People are like seeds the gardener plants. He would love to have them all come up and be beautiful little plants. But he knows as he puts them in the ground that some of them will never respond to him, no matter how thoughtful, and nurturing he is. So it is with people, like the seeds, some are best buried and forgotten.

bkcunningham's avatar

@6rant6 wow, that was deep.

incendiary_dan's avatar

Well, throwing a bit of fertilizer on could only help. Take that how you want to. :P

Winters's avatar

As I think about it, probably it is for me. I try to drive others away right now for what I guess I think is their sake.

Axemusica's avatar

Damn skippy @6rant6. >:)

Berserker's avatar

Yeah I think it does. Notice that, when someone says someone nice or complimentary about a person, that person will never claim that they don’t care what people think. And if you really don’t care, there’s really no need to proclaim it. I mean, you don’t care! Unless you’re the Terminator and must technically inform the people dealing with you about how you work.

But eh I’m just basing that on me, cuz I always say I dun give a shit but that isn’t true. I don’t think I’m really all that abnormal, but no I’m not speaking for everyone lol.

cockswain's avatar

Depends on the person. With some people, I believe they wish they felt that way but really do care. With others, I believe they really mean it most of the time. I think people that truly don’t ever care what others think could be sociopathic.

I read a quote somewhere, I think the Tao te Ching: Care about other people’s approval and you become their slave.

I like that quote.

lonelydragon's avatar

Much of the time, I think they are trying to convince themselves that they don’t care, or they are trying to look cool and win their friends’ approval (which just proves that they really mean the opposite). But I suppose there are a few out there for whom that statement really does apply.

poopnest's avatar

It is probably a defense mechanism. It depends on the person and their situation. Are they distraught when they say it? Or do they seem calm and collected? They may actually not care if they are calm and collected. If they seem upset, then they are probably bothered.

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