Those who know me know how hard it is for me to keep my mouth shut when I disagree. I belong to a group at work that discusses balance - diet, exercise, etc. We have one member who listens to half of what is said and jumps in to turn the conversation back on himself. Luckily this group meets twice. Once in our building and once in another office building. My solution to this annoyance is to attend the meeting in the other building. I really enjoy these meetings. Each group has a different dynamic. I miss the rest of the people from the group in our building. I tried once again to attend. HE was late coming. We were having a great discussion. We were laughing so hard we were in tears. Then HE came. We went totally off topic, the laughter stopped and the judgemental comments began.
We were discussing someone who advocated a raw foods diet. This person appears to be in awesome physical shape and we were discussing what we knew (not much - we must do some research). And HE says, he must be gay. The looks on the group said it all. HE missed that. I did say something.
Then we mentioned the company Christmas party. HE was the only one to attend. I mentioned that my husband and I were going for a quiet dinner alone instead. It will cost you more money HE replies. A night alone with my husband is worth it. Well, I'd rather celebrate surrounded by friends. HE says this in the most condescending tone. (I'm thinking what friends - oh you mean your poor co-workers).
Then in the middle of discussing food origins he brings up buying a foreign car. And goes on and on even after one person asked how this became part of the conversation. Then he goes on and on about how Christmas Eve service is the greatest thing for his kids and how they love it. I'm glad they go to church and it fulfills them. I do not deny anyone their beliefs. What I object to is how he tones things, words things and implies that if you are not doing the exact same thing as him you are evil incarnate.
This is the same person who assumes because I'm an herbalist I smoke pot on a regular basis. He assumes a lot of things about me and voices them at inappropriate times (during meetings) not that any time you accuse someone of something is appropriate. And if I didn't work with him I'd give him a real peace of my mind. I'm just not sure how to do it in a professional setting. So, I will no longer be a part of this group. I will continue to head to the other building to meet.
And I know it is not all me - at the end of the meeting one woman leaned over and asked me what day the other group meets. So here is what I would say in part (at probably to high of a volume).
Dear Mr Know-it-all:
You do not know it all. In fact I think you know very little especially about me. If during a conversation you would not only stop talking for a minute but actually listen to people you might learn something. Our group meetings are not a free counseling session for you. The meetings are about balance in all of our lives, they are not about you. You don't need to explain your religion to me or shove it down my throat. I spent years in the church and have a masters degree from seminary. I understand. And it is people like you that give organized religion a bad name. You are the last person I would discuss my religious beliefs with. I don't care if you have a problem with me doing what is best for me and my immediate family rather than bowing to what society would have me do. Because I'm gathering in numerous small intimate groups for the holidays rather than one chaotic one does not mean I don't care about my family and friends. In fact it might mean I care more because I want to spend more time with the individuals rather than getting lost in a crowd. You are a huge reason we can not grow the balance group. I have had several people express an interest but say they just can't do it as long as you are a part of the group. I really understand why.