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Don't you EVER tell people "you're different"

"You're different" here is intended as "you're special" and "different from all the rest".

Let's analyze why it's a terrible thing to say:

What it does to the receiver:

This is what it does on the receiver:

  1. It puts them on a pedestal: always bad. It empowers them too much and it disempowers you. Good relationships are more balanced.
  2. It puts them in a cage: it's a positive judge power move. So, they are now forced to keep proving themselves as "different" and "special"? They don't want to do that. They want to be free to act "normal"
  3. It breaks rapport: people want to be understood and appreciated for who they are, as people. And people are often not that different. "You're different" puts them in an isolated category, where they likely don't want to be.

The majority of people will be put off by being labeled as "different".
They will say, or think "no, I'm not different, I'm a (just) person".

Exceptions

Ther are exceptions, of course.
If you're dealing with people who are very high on the narcissistic scale, or with people who do feel special and misunderstood by everyone, that might get you close to them, increase rapport, and win you brownie points.

Usually, it's not the cream of the crop, though.

nativity picturePeople who feel like the new Jesus will like the "you're different" label. Anyone else will be annoyed by it.

If you're dealing with more mentally and emotionally adjusted people, the tendency is to fight that label -and to devalue you in the process-.

What it says about the speaker:

Most of all, "you're different" says bad things the best person who says those words.

Namely:

  1. He probably had a string of bad experiences with "normal" people: the more he says "you're different" with admiration and hope, the more he seems like a bitter loser who couldn't get along with "normal" people. The opposite of social proof.
  2. He is still dreaming for the "different" one to get along with: "you're different" screams of unrealistic expectations. It's the basis of one-itis, falling in love for an image instead of a person, and pedestalizing people

Adjusted and worldly people know that people are people.
Sure, there are generally better, more value-adding people and, there are nastier, and more value-subtracting ones. And there are also people we get along with better, and people we don't get along with well.

But it's more about different groups and clusters, and we can see patterns and similarities within that cluster.
It's not about any single individual being different than all the rest. That's just nonsense. Seek to get along with people for who they are, don't seek the "different" ones.


The Girl Who Insisted On Me Being "Different"

I once met a woman who told me "I was different".

And the more I denied it, the more she insisted that, yes, "I was different, and she could feel it". And the more she insisted, the more I lost respect for her.

Don't put anyone in a "different" box.
It's a constricting cage for them, and it says bad things about you.

 

 

Have you read the forum guidelines for effective communication already?
  1. He probably had a string of bad experiences with "normal" people: the more he says "you're different" with admiration and hope, the more he seems like a bitter loser who couldn't get along with "normal" people. The opposite of social proof.

Love it!