What About The Exception?

Okay, let’s get this out of the way. Yes, there are exceptions to everything.

When we set aside general rules or come up with heuristics for what to be aware of and what to look out for, it’s all too easy for a critic to hop in and say: “But what about the exception?” and pat themselves on the back. I presume they have a snarky grin on their face, more often than I picture someone asking out of pure innocence.

I’m not dunking on this kind of tendency but I want to explain why this type of response misses the point.

Example: “A solid public social media presence offers a proof of personhood. It’s one signal to assess if a person is legit or not.”

This statement offers a heuristic, and a potential mode of evaluating someone you don’t know. The misguided would see this and reply:

“Oh, but social media isn’t enough because I’ve seen people with great social media presence be terrible people irl.”

This misses the point. It’s a bad reply. The underlying assumption of these sorts of things is that “of course there’s exceptions, there usually always is.” It doesn’t need to be explicitly stated.

Another example. Someone posts about a few things they appreciate about their partner. Wholesome. A misguided reply? “Ladies, he was tending to me, treating me out to dinner every night, supported me in every other way but he was doing this with 3 other people at the same time. You can’t trust any of these.”

It’s really not worth spending energy on this. Of course, everything can look perfect, but crumble in an instant. It’s just not particularly helpful or life-changing to state it so untactfully. It doesn’t build solidarity, yet it attempts to advocate for distrust. This is unfortunate because when we’re primed to look for certain things, we tend to find them (even if they’re not fully justified).

Ultimately – yes, exceptions exist. No, it’s not worth losing sleep over becoming the exception. It makes for a miserable time. Live bravely, live foolish, even, live any way but miserable.