This week I was obsessed with watching a Let’s Play of the new game Detroit: Become Human. It takes place in the near future when very human androids are normal. Tensions between humans and androids begins to build as more and more androids become “deviant”, meaning they have essentially gained free will.
The Youtuber added his own commentary (which is half of the fun of watching a Let’s Play in the first place so I’m all for it). There were a lot of parallels between the androids’ plight and the Civil Rights movement… obviously. I’m not sure how the game designers would have NOT done that. It was a revolution, androids with free will asking for the right to live among humans. But every time there was a symbol or a quote that sparked even the hint of a deeper thought, the Youtuber would act like this was some incredible knowledge that he was lucky to notice.
Honestly, the symbolism in that game is about as subtle as a brick to the face. I really enjoyed watching it and I’ve enjoyed seeing how differently the game can turn out, but I was completely uninterested in the reiteration of extremely obvious plot points.
That got me thinking about how often someone reiterates information or simply states the obvious, as if you didn’t know.
It can happen at work when someone tells you how to do your job that you’ve been doing for a couple years now. It can happen on the road when your passenger tells you about a stop sign that you are literally already slowing down for. It can happen when you’re doing yard work and your friend is telling you the process for pulling up weeds when it is not rocket science and you can pull up a stupid weed without a fifteen minute explanation.
It can, and does, happen all the time and everywhere. Other people do it to you and you do it to other people. I’ve for sure been on both sides.
Here’s the thing though, you don’t know what’s going on in someone else’s mind. Maybe they know the information, maybe they don’t. You can’t know until they demonstrate the knowledge in some tangible way or tell you that they know. And by the time they have to tell you, it’s probably in a very exasperated, “I KNOOOW!”
For the Youtuber, I had to remind myself that he did not go to school to learn the ins and outs of storytelling. He is not bored of picking up on not-so-subtle symbolism. He has lived a completely different life (in a completely different country, no less). He has not experienced the same things I have. He is sharing HIS thoughts and HIS opinions and HIS insights. Just because they are not insights to me, doesn’t invalidate his experience with the game.
My manager repeating to me how to perform a very basic task at my job is not her telling me I am an idiot. Maybe it’s been a while since this task has been done. Maybe she had to give herself a refresher on it and wants to do the same for me before I have to ask.
Maybe your friend has learned a new technique for pulling weeds. Maybe they have never seen you do yard work and they don’t want you to feel stupid for having to ask, so they’re just throwing information out upfront. Maybe the passenger in your car has run stop signs in the past and doesn’t want you to get a ticket. Maybe that stop sign is easy to miss and they’re trying to not die.
Unless someone has done it repeatedly over time, I’d say let it slide. It’s easy to get annoyed. But most people are not repeating information to anger or upset you. They don’t think you’re a moron who needs to be micromanaged. Mostly, they’re just trying to be helpful. Remember, they can’t know you know until you show or tell them. Try not to make everything more difficult by getting mad about it.