The first time you share your feelings or experience and someone immediately negates it based on their own—without even asking questions or trying to understand where you’re coming from and why you feel how you feel—walk away.
I don’t care who they are; shut it down and stop making excuses for them.
That can look like clearly calling it out the moment after it happens, and it can also look like a simple smile before gently winding down the conversation so you can leave with your energy and sanity intact.
The truth is, this sort of behavior is often unconscious. People think they’re sharing their feelings and perceptions in response to yours when really, they’re seeking to invalidate or oppose your truth to make themselves feel better. To maintain their worldview and sense of self, which is why they aren’t about to engage with you from a place of curiosity and openness.
But whether it’s unconscious or not, it’s still damaging.
It still makes the space unsafe and hinders any ability for genuine connection and security. It’s still a form of gaslighting that eventually causes you to question yourself and your reality. It’s maddening and hurtful, regardless of intent.
There are people who ask questions.
Sweet souls that may not agree with your experience but want to know why you feel how you feel. Who, before countering your experience with their own, will pause and be present with your feelings to seek complete understanding. They may share that they feel differently, but not in a way that negates yours, and certainly not immediately after you share without skipping a beat or stopping to listen.
Hold these people close. They’re true friends, safe and connected partners, and deeply self-aware humans. They’re the ones that can hold space for your truth and who want to know your heart fully.
Anything less isn’t worth the energy.
Shut it down and make space for more.