How Do You Wish to be Treated?
Last evening I was fortunate enough to be with a large gathering of friends and acquaintances for an after work social. It was a truly enjoyable event such as most socials can be. Unfortunately, it never ceases to amaze me how every now and then there is a person in such a crowd who (giving them the benefit of the doubt) doesn’t realize that they are coming off as having a “holier than thou” type attitude. Why am I mentioning this? I’m mentioning this because I ran into such a person last night. The reason I use such a term to describe this person is because when I said hello to a friend of mine who I hadn’t seen in a long time, the person next to him stopped talking with the person he was speaking with and without really looking at me (not looking at me in the eye as would be the polite thing to do when meeting someone but looking past me) said, “Well, hello Gil” in a somewhat patronizing tone. After he said this to me, he proceeded to not go back to the person he was speaking with or say anything further to me but to pick up something from the table next to us. Immediately upon picking up the item from the table, this person turned his back more towards me and looked away. It appeared as though he was looking through the crowd to see who else was here.
Did I know this person? Yes. He is a member of the board of directors for one of the organizations that was hosting this event particular event. This particular organization is one that I’m a member of as well. Why was he acting this way towards me? I’m really not sure. What I do know about him is that he is a retired school professor and usually a very nice person to speak with. But every now and again while talking with people recently, he will have a tone as though he is a person of persuasion and influence. An elegant person who appears to enjoy the “finer things” in life (…have you ever seen those old “Grey Poupon Mustard commercials?). Almost as if he demands you to be a person of power or importance yourself prior to him giving you his undivided attention. Being a person of power and be rude is one thing, being a person without as much power or influence as maybe the next the person is another. To say I was a little taken back would be an understatement.
Benefit of the Doubt
There could have been many reasons for this person to act like that with me (and a couple of others that same evening I found out later on). He could have been having a difficult day, he may have been really tired, or most likely he may not have realized how he was coming off.
Sometimes assuming the best of a person is easier for dealing with people than assuming the worst from them.
How would you have felt if someone, in front of a large group of people, treated you with such a condescending tone?
Fortunately, I choose to have a great day every day by choice so I didn’t let it get to me for more than a few seconds (hey, I’m only human). Even though we can’t always control what happens to us, we can always control how we react. If there is anyone who disagrees with my last statement, feel free to disagree and let me know why you believe that.
How Should Someone Be Treated? Forgive and Forget?
The way a person negatively treats someone else can, and often does, backfire on them sooner or later. With the particular person who was so condescending with me and a few others at this social gathering, I won’t be making an effort to do anything negative towards him. Two wrongs don’t make a right. But I can only imagine how others may act and go out of their way to ensure that they have a negative effect on that person’s life. All simply due to the condescending way he may have treated them.
The age old saying of “Forgive and Forget” is truly wise and prudent for most people. Unfortunately, as human beings, it’s not always easy to forget how a person makes you feel.
Is it really worth treating someone else as though they are beneath you in some way, shape or form?
Even if the above is not the intent, not being proactive in understanding how one is coming off to another person may be much more beneficial that one might think. In the age of social media and the internet, one person with an energetic and angry passion against something or “someone” can do a large amount of damage to a person’s credibility, authority, respectability.
So the next time you’re in a social setting, it may not be a bad idea to put on a smile and look at a person when you say hello to them or they say hello to you.
What are your thoughts?