If you really don’t care what I think, why do you need me to think you don’t care?

This is a short reflection about a common and quirky(?) statement: ‘I don’t care what you think.’

‘I don’t care what you think’ raises a question: what is the point of saying it?

Only someone who really cares what I think needs me to know how much they don’t care. And it appears that they care a great deal that I understand that they don’t care. In fact, appearing to not care is something they seem to care about a great deal.

‘I don’t care what you think’ thus says a great deal about what the speaker wants me to think. Otherwise, there is very little point in speaking the words in the first place. The fact they are saying these words suggests that, in fact, they do care what I think. The phrase is an interesting paradox of language, when you think about it.

The more emphatically someone tries to convince me that they don’t care about my opinion, the more apparent it seems how much they in fact care deeply about my perception of their opinion.

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15 Replies to “If you really don’t care what I think, why do you need me to think you don’t care?”

  1. Reminds me of the conversations I’ve had with some contemporary dance artists who insist that they don’t care if their audiences don’t get or enjoy their work. My response has been, if you don’t care then you don’t need me there in the audience to witness your work. If I can’t participate in the experience in some way even if it is to disagree with you or challenge you then why perform in front of an audience at all? Why present?

    1. I wonder exactly the same thing when someone posts a selfie and declares, “This is who I am. This is my identity. I don’t care what anyone thinks!” It begs the question of why would you publicly post a selfie in the first place if the audience doesn’t matter at all?

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