Have you ever been snubbed? As in, cold-shouldered by someone for no good reason – like, you just shagged her husband? On the internet, www.dictionary.comdefines “snub” as:“to treat with disdain or contempt, especially by ignoring”. Another person, in a social setting, simply refuses to recognize your common humanity and the Miss Manners touch of decent, grown-up acknowledgment. If you hang out with people to whom glitz and glamour count for a lot, I bet you see this all the time.
Some years ago, a woman I knew and considered a friend literally turned her back on me at our children’s mutual preschool. The snub took my breath away. It also hurt. A lot. This was someone I’d trusted, to whom I had confided that my husband and I were separating. Her snub, I later understood, was a way of expressing fear (that her own husband would leave) and denial. It said more about her than about me.
Even though we volunteered at the same nonprofit, our relationship was never the same. I didn’t trust her. Why would I? At a low point in my life, she’d treated me with disdain and contempt.
What happens, though, in the mind of a person who snubs you without even being acquainted? This past weekend – and I’m going to make this as generic as possible – I was invited to an outdoor athletic event. The friend inviting me was also friends with someone quite integral to the event, and also well-known in the literary world. My friend had wanted us – her mutual friends – to meet for months. She brought this person over, introduced us, I extended my hand, said, “I’m so glad to meet you!” The other person shook hands but refused to look me in the eye, said not a word (not one!), and immediately turned to others, talking and laughing, and moved away.
This snub was breathtaking, too. It was “Mean Girls” times ten – especially because this person was born during World War II and is more than old enough to know better. People near me noticed and began whispering. I was stunned. Then hurt, for all of sixty seconds. Then I realized this person’s actions spoke of inner character, not of me.
And what does it say of affection toward our mutual friend? Here’s a woman the well-known person supposedly regards with affection, yet snubs someone she introduces. That says volumes about what’s inside, and it’s not at all pretty. It’s pull-up-the-rock time.
There’s the rub, snubbers. You may think you’re acting powerful or coy or better-than, or doing a one-up. But all you’re doing is displaying the skittering, darkness-loving creatures inside, the cruel, biting creepy-crawlies that end up attacking you. You, the human being, no more, no less. You, the person who puts on trousers one leg at a time and has the same needs for air, water, food as anyone else.
When you snub others, you’re really snubbing yourself.
How does that feel, snubber?