Ex Files: In Which I Get Blocked by a Judgmental Chicken Farmer

During the past several days, I have engaged in several conversations with single strangers.

One or two of them have struggled to get past: How are you? great! How was your day! wonderful, yours? Good, thanks. Have a good night! you too! (These conversations are clearly going nowhere.)

A few have been fun and engaging. (Which is both a blessing and a curse, because fun, engaging conversations take time. And time is a precious commodity. So they are fun and engaging in bits and pieces, with vast tracts of doing other things in between.)

And then there are the conversations that leave my wondering what the heck is happening? They begin in a promising fashion and devolve into… well, in the case of the chicken farmer, insult and assumption.

Him (Monday):   

You have an awesome sense of humor! And I’m pretty sure if I saw a spider bigger then your hand I’d be cowering right with you lol 🙂 I read your entire profile! You seem like an easy person to talk to. Smart and outgoing. I like that! Maybe I’ll get my gold star 😉

Me:
Why thank you 🙂 yes, you get a gold star 🙂
Oh no! Are you scared of spiders as well? I’m just now beginning to slay my own (out of necessity)–I’m not really willing to slay another’s arachnid foes

Him (Tuesday):
So enlighten me. What is it you like about me? Apparently we like each other 🙂 I could go on and on with my reasons for liking you but I’m sure it’s stuff you heard a million times. I on the other hand don’t get many compliments so maybe we should build on what you like about me 🙂

Me:
Well, obviously, your humility is exceedingly attractive ^_-
😛

(sorry, couldn’t resist. You left yourself WIDE open with “tell me more about what you like about me” ^_-)

I don’t know if I like you. I’ve never met you.
What I like about your profile is that you are just as put-off by “Hey, I just met you, and this is crazy, but here’s my profile, jump in bed with me maybe?”

And you have chickens.

I have a love/hate relationship with chickens. But they can be entertaining. Especially when one’s five year old nephew doesn’t realize the irony of feeding a stale chicken nugget to them….

Him:
Don’t be sorry I’m not offended. You liked me. You clicked the little star on my page. See look at the top of this thread, it says we like each other. There must have been something that sparked your interest in me. Nothing wrong with asking what that was. I’ve left my self open for nothing but establishing common ground with you 🙂

What could be your hate relationship with a harmless animal that graciously donates it’s eggs for our consumption? 🙂

Funny about that stale chicken nugget lol… what’s even more ironic is if it came from McDonald’s it’s probably not even chicken lol 🙂

Him (A few hours later):
Still talking? Or have you run out of things to say? 🙂

[At this point, I’m beginning to feel irritated. It’s mid-afternoon! In addition to having the levity sucked out of the conversation, I’m BUSY. The green little light might be on, but that doesn’t mean I’ve got nothing better to do than sit all day with this tab up, waiting with baited breath to be able to type a response to someone who takes our superficial star click so seriously. It has only been a few hours since I last replied– Chillax a little?]

Me:
My problem is more that I have too many things to say and too many places to say them.  Generally, it’s safe to assume that unless 24 hours has elapsed, I’m not ignoring you. I’m just not able to message back yet.

As for the hate part…. the responsibility factor. They make vacations difficult.

Him:
I wasn’t assuming you were ignoring me. […really? then WHY did you ask if we were still talking?] I don’t mind the responsibility factor. I’m also poor and very modest so I don’t take a lot of vacations.

Him (A few minutes later):
So I guess I don’t hate my chickens as they don’t interfere with my selfish needs. They’re good animals and I don’t mind taking care of them.

[ouch… ooookay…. So my dislike of the responsibility makes me selfish? I’m feeling insulted at this point, but willing to give him the benefit of the doubt that maybe he’s coming off a little stronger than intended]

Me (later that afternoon):
My selfish needs include traipsing off to visit family at least once a month, so I’m debating getting a cat since they can be left alone for a night or two ^_^

Him (5:17 AM this morning):
My chickens aren’t pets. (Well they kinda are) but they’re a food source first not a game. I also have a dog (who also can’t be left alone) and had two cats until both passed of old age recently. So my family understands that I can’t go traipsing off for multiple nights every single month just for a visit. My family understands that I have responsibilities that includes lives other then my own that come before my selfish needs. They also understand that if they like to see me for an overnight visit they’re welcome to come visit my home anytime.

Him (5 min later):
Anyway… sounds like someone with responsibilities is a deal breaker for you.

Me (7 AM):
There is no need to be insulting. Ironically, my parents are the ones with chickens, a dog, and cats. So if I want to see them, I’m the one who has to go visiting.

Responsibilities aren’t a deal breaker for me– I have many of my own; they simply differ in nature and mobility. Rudeness, however, is a deal breaker.

–And then he blocked me–

May I just point out that he made a LOT of assumptions?
Also, for the record, SELFISH NEED is an oxymoron. If it’s a need, it is essential and necessary. If it is NECESSARY, it’s not selfish.

Words, y’all. They matter. Use them appropriately–especially if you are trying to insult someone.

UPDATE:

at 11:00 AM, I discovered that he had unblocked me and sent the following message: 

Humility, insulting, rudeness? Just curious who gave you the magical powers of perception and the ability to judge so easily? My explaining my responsibilities surrounding my animals was neither insulting nor rude. If your parents have chickens you should understand my situation rather being callous that I can’t take vacations often, or make me feel bad I don’t have pets that can be left alone for multiple days. I understand that you want to see your parents as much as possible, and that’s really cool of you. But I do apologize it’s you that always has to go see them because of their animal. This is the lifestyle your parents and I chose for ourselves at this point in our lives and I didn’t mean, and I’m sure parents didn’t either for it to inconvenience anyone. If you can see past this and would like to talk more (about something else) I’d enjoy that.

The next day, I replied:

Thank you for your offer of continued conversation, but I choose to decline.
It has nothing to do with the pets you do or don’t have, but rather with your tendencies to jump to conclusions and assume the worst every time I respond to a message.

Rather than asking clarifying questions, you have made assumptions about my character and meanings and victimized yourself when my words had nothing to do with you. Generally when people ask me a question about me, I respond with an answer about myself, not about them.

To summarize:

After four hours of my failure to respond in the middle of the afternoon, you asked if we were still talking or if I had run out of things to say. Neither assumption gave any grace that perhaps I was simply busy.

When you asked why I had liked your profile, one of the reasons I gave was that you mentioned chickens. So clearly, I was not holding chickens against you in any way, shape, or form. I expressed a love/hate relationship with them in my own personal experience, in the context of my own personal life. But rather than seeking to understand my position, the nature of my job, the nature of my current inability to sustain a pet that would require a great deal of consistent attention at this current moment in my life, or the nature of my family ties, you took it as an insult and a judgement against yourself.

I don’t require any sympathy for the fact that my parents own chickens. I prioritize their relationship to the extent that I am totally willing to accommodate them AND their chickens. I do not consider it an inconvenience. It is a joy to visit my family, and the only thing preventing more frequent visits is the distance between us. But again, this is yet another example of you reading your own meanings into what I wrote rather than asking clarifying questions.

In the course of our short dialogue, you have displayed impatience, insinuated selfishness, called me callous, sarcastically referred to my powers of perception as magical, and assumed judgement where none was being placed. If I am to expend time getting to know strangers via online communication, I prefer to do it with those who are willing to get to know me rather than interpreting my words as a personal attack against themselves.

Good day, sir. I wish you well.

FINAL UPDATE: 
A half hour later, he replied: 

You are a pretentious self centered (word for a female dog).  I didn’t even finish reading that rant.

[Bullet dodged? yes, I think so.]

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