Social Question

Berserker's avatar

Do you care what people think? Is it even possible not to?

Asked by Berserker (33470points) February 20th, 2010

If we trust that we’re part of the animal kingdom, then we live in packs, and beyond any physical attributes that have been replaced by awareness and intelligence, we thrive on psychological and emotional levels right?
Generally, living among and communicating with others is what makes a healthy human. While you can become a hermit and live in solitude, apparently that can lead to insanity which isn’t a good sign of what we’re supposed to do, or be. I think…(Corrections appreciated.)
That’s not really the point, but merely some slight ball rolling to explain the following;
I often see people who say they don’t care what others think or say about them. But I notice said statement is often presented with much vehemence and emotion, usually as a response, quite a natural one I think, to something that has been said of the person in negative light. Which basically proves the entire contrary, that they DO care. Otherwise if they really didn’t, why would they bother to make it so clear? Why would they be so upset? It’s natural to want to be recognized isn’t it? A vital part of making it in society maybe?
Apathy is apathy, not a defense mechanism. Or is it?
On that same coin, if you say something nice and supporting about a person, they’ll be happy and satisfied, which is also natural…but they’ll never say they don’t care what you think.
I mean if you really didn’t care, that would include both positive and negative feedback.
Or maybe I got it all wrong. I think what people are trying to say is that they won’t let people’s views thwart them from their path, whether they care or not. Or am I not thick skinned enough? I always act like I don’t care, but I still do, yet I can’t ever really find any reason why I should. (Hence the whole idea of it being natural but maybe that’s just me.) What do you think?

Feel free to take the subject beyond individual perception though. Apathy probably covers a lot of things. If apathy as we define it exists.

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40 Answers

neverawake's avatar

Sometimes. Sometimes not.

phoebusg's avatar

I care, but I care to understand – not care to misunderstand. I care to know why, and how, and once I do – it doesn’t matter what they think. Because at least I know what lead them to what they think – whatever that is. Good or bad. I care but I accept, and always want to understand.

It’s not possible not to – not really. We are socially engineered. We are as one – as people. But it is possible to be unaffected, or mostly unaffected. Unattached to the associative thoughts.

faye's avatar

I’m caring less as I get older, but I’m also becoming more intolerant.

Berserker's avatar

@phoebusg A great way to look at it. Thanks for the answer, now I got something to think bout. :)

candide's avatar

I only care what people think if I care about the people

lucillelucillelucille's avatar

I only care when asking if my ass looks fat in my jeans,butt that’s it ;)

philosopher's avatar

@candide
Exactly how I feel too.
I have to respect somone to care what they think. I have to believe they are a worthwhile person. Unfortunately there are not many people I respect enough to care.
I do not respect judgmental,egotistical or self absorbed people. I do not respect psuedo intellectuals; who attempt to talk down others.

jeanna_'s avatar

I don’t particularly care what most people think outside of my family, and even with them there is a very fine line between caring and not caring. There are a few things about me I won’t tell my family (like my bisexuality or that I’ve dated outside of my race oh noes! one shouldn’t do that in the south. grrr ignorance) because I know they would never speak to me again. Other than that, I really don’t care what people think, which is made obvious with the brutal honesty I throw at people.

qashqai's avatar

I don’t anymore, and I am happy as never before.

ChocolateReigns's avatar

I try not to let get to me.

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

I only care what certain people that matter to me think.

wundayatta's avatar

I’m with you @Symbeline. I’ve asked this question or a version thereof before. It always dismays me when people say they don’t care what others think because I care desperately. The only thing I ever wanted in life was approval and love. And for these things, I am completely dependent on others.

I’ve heard that I’m supposed to love myself so many times, it’s hard to imagine anything else. But I don’t. I don’t even see the point of it. I can love myself all I want, but my love simply doesn’t matter. It doesn’t give me anything I want. I want other people to love me. So everything I do is for that purpose.

I’m not sure, but I think people get the idea that if you always do for others that you become some kind of limp dishrag, and anyone can manipulate you easily. I don’t think that is the case with me. I may be very unhappy at times; I may be incredibly needy at times; I may beg for attention at times; but I do that only in my way. I don’t think anyone who knows me or knows my work here will say otherwise. There are no other voices like mine here… maybe anywhere.

I can not have any other voice but my own, and I can not do anything that does not fit within my sense of self in order to get attention, approval an love. I have to be loved for me… for who I am, or it’s not real and it’s not worth shit. If I change myself to get love… well the other person is not loving me. They are loving some false image, which does neither me nor them any favors.

No. I am doomed to be myself and try to get approval for myself as myself. That’s what makes it so depressing sometimes. When people don’t like me for whatever reason, I know there is nothing I can do to change to please them. It is an indictment of myself, and I have no defense and no lawyer to mount a defense.

Sometimes, I’m told, I am imagining it when I think no one likes or loves me, or when I think I am unlikable and unlovable. I don’t know what that means, because my feelings are what I feel. I pay pretty close attention to them—some, I’m sure, would say too close attention. But in some ways, I feel they are all I have that tie me to the world. Pure intellect or pure physicality don’t mean shit without my emotions to hold them all together.

Yet feelings are dumb. They don’t think. They just do. And when I give over to them, I get really stupid, and all I can say is that I have to embrace the stupidity, because I’m not worth calling a human without feelings.

But it’s all worthless if no one loves me. It isn’t shit if no one pays attention. I am nothing without other people reflecting positively on me. Sometimes I feel like I need this more than anyone else I know. I know I will go to very dangerous places to find what I want. I beat myself up for that, but not enough to stop myself.

So yes. You bet your ass I care about what people think, and no, I don’t think it is possible not to, and people who say they don’t care—either they are talking about something different from what I’m talking about or we simply aren’t of the same species. Which is fine. It’s not the first time I’ve felt like an alien.

Cruiser's avatar

@lucillelucillelucille Stand up so I can see how those jeans really fit you!!

Cruiser's avatar

@Symbeline You were all over the map in your question and I’m not sure where apathy comes into play when opinions of one appearance come into play. I could give a rats fuzzy a$$ about what other people think. Wanna have some fun pull me over any Sat at 8:45 am and you will see a freak show of bed head and clothes more than likely inside out as I try to drive the kids to bowling. Life is too short to worry about well coiffed details.

knitfroggy's avatar

I don’t care what the general population thinks of me. They can jog on if they don’t like me, what I’m wearing, the vehicle I drive, etc. I am who I am. I do care though however what my family thinks. I want my kids, husband, parents, et al to be happy with and/or proud of me.

ChaosCross's avatar

Depends on the person.

aprilsimnel's avatar

Sure, I care what people think. But they must be the right people, namely, people whose values and opinions I respect. I can’t be arsed to be concerned with the appraisals of all and sundry. That just takes too much out of a person!

marinelife's avatar

I spent many years breaking myself on the rock of caring what other people think. But now I don’t care. It is enough for me that I know the truth. It is so totally freeing.

philosopher's avatar

@marinelife
I agree.
It is like the song Garden Party says; you can’t please everyone so you have to please yourself.

YARNLADY's avatar

It depends on who they are. I don’t care what complete strangers think of me, but I do care what people I associate with think.

Dr_Lawrence's avatar

I am interested in what people I respect or care about think about things I say or do that affect them or things they may be concerned may adversely affect me.

I will listen respectfully to such input and may alter my behaviour if the feedback seems to warrant it.

Just because someone offers criticism or praise of me or my behaviour does not require me to either care or change what I think, say or do. There are far too many “someones” with opinions.

TheArbiter's avatar

Greetings and bon venue. I allow sincere positive feedback to motivate me, but insulting comments mean that people are just jealous.

DrasticDreamer's avatar

I’m with Simone on this one. I only care what the people I care about think – and even then, it depends on the circumstances. I’m not a fan of most people I meet, so I can’t see how caring what they think would make any kind of sense at all.

Blondesjon's avatar

I don’t care at all and haven’t for a looong time.

I have no power over what others think or feel so why waste my time worrying about it?

Cruiser's avatar

@lucillelucillelucille You Loooork Mahveloussss!! Smashing Baby!!! <<golf clap>>

wundayatta's avatar

@Blondesjon It seems to me that you are begging people every week to tell you what they think. And to like you. You ask them to send you money. You try to please them with your humor and personality. You try to influence what they think, whether or not you have power over them. Denying that you have power is really disingenuous. You wouldn’t be a performer if you didn’t think you could turn people around.

Your very behavior puts the lie to your words. You clearly care very much about what people think. More so than most, I think.

Blondesjon's avatar

@wundayatta . . . Seems to me that you are describing me as using and manipulating folks as opposed to caring what they think of me.

try harder

wundayatta's avatar

@Blondesjon Huh? I don’t know how you got that. I think you are trying to entertain them, not use them or manipulate them. This is a good thing. I think you like entertaining people. I think you like attention (which is also a good thing). However, you can’t want to entertain or get attention if you don’t care what others think. If you didn’t care, you wouldn’t bother.

gemiwing's avatar

People that I respect or admire- then I care deeply. People that I love and honor- they matter more than any other (sometimes even myself). People who I don’t know and are shallow morons? They don’t enter into my world much.

Blondesjon's avatar

@wundayatta . . . I am providing a product that I would like others to consume so that I can profit from it. To that end I only care that it is consumed. If a person-person here or a person-person there doesn’t care for it and/or me, I have no control over that.

Do I care what others think of me? No.

Do I do what I do because I feel I have a product that can not only entertain but also educate and heal a human race that needs healing and education? Yes.

For this reason only I do it because, Godammit! I CARE!!!

wundayatta's avatar

@Blondesjon Better be careful, or that guy who gives those awards for double-speaking politicians will give one to you! Anyway, I’m happy for you. I think. Not that it matters. Unless of course one was a person-person. But tell, would you do it in a box? Would you do it with a fox?

lucillelucillelucille's avatar

@Cruiser-Thank you,thank you very muuuucccchhh…

thriftymaid's avatar

I actually don’t care what other people think about certain things, my life being one of them.

thriftymaid's avatar

@philosopher I can believe we have things in common Phil.

lonelydragon's avatar

@Symbeline What you say makes perfect sense to me. As you so truthfully pointed out, some people who say they don’t care might be feigning apathy as a defense mechanism. If they truly didn’t care, they’d show it with their actions, not their words. Of course, I’m sure there are people who sincerely don’t care, but among my personal contacts, those who ardently proclaimed their indifference actually took great pains to live their lives according to others’ expectations. But they lacked the self-awareness to realize how hard they actually tried to win others’ approval.

On a more tangential note, where did you read that living as a hermit lead to insanity? If so, then I may headed for trouble….

Berserker's avatar

@lonelydragon Haha no, I mean someone who literally isolates themselves and cuts off all human contact. Being independent and on your own I think is different, I mean you probably still talk to people around you every now and then right?

lonelydragon's avatar

You’re right, I was joking. I didn’t literally mean that I was a hermit (though I fantasize about it now and again. Especially when the neighbors are keeping up a racket. Haha).

monocle's avatar

I have to be honest,
75 % of me doesn’t care.
It depends on who the people are and what I’m caring about.

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