I think, when I was
little younger– the titular incident was age 12/13– I wasn’t really aware that I didn’t have to listen to everyone who wanted to talk to me, or take what they said seriously. Or I just thought that it was good to listen politely, and wasn’t aware that it might not always be good for me?
This meant I spent a lot of time listening politely to whichever of my peers had the most to say and the fewest other people to say it to. This relates to this post— some of them were people who wanted to talk to me about their (fictional/theoretical) relationships and life plans and so on. They were often also people who enjoyed angst and drama and wanted to vent about it, or pull more people into it, or create it out of nothing.
I remember being aware that many of the things I listened to were either completely untrue or probably exaggerated, but I didn’t know what to do about that. I felt like I had to at least give them some benefit of the doubt unless I could definitively prove they were lying (which of course I never could). So I didn’t confront them– I didn’t say “that’s not true,” “stop asking me about that,” etc.– and I didn’t avoid them either. But I wasn’t (usually) genuinely believing or interested in what they were saying. I just strung along awkwardly, sometimes trying to gently disagree with them, sometimes just listening.
There was an element of doublething involved, in being aware certain things probably weren’t true but proceeding as if they were.