Sunday, July 25, 2010

Hault! Who Goes There?!

I wish people came with disclaimers, warnings,and instruction manuals. Seriously, how much easier would it be to interact with people if we knew exactly where they were coming from? In elementary school, when Jerry or Jessica gives you their last donut hole, it would've been nice to know that gesture warranted payback. So when Jerry asks to see under your skirt or Jessica asks to copy off of your test, you aren't blind-sided. How about the boss who gives you public praise,and later that week asks for private pleasure?

You may do things for others out of the kindness of your heart. For instance, allow someone male or female, younger or older, higher-ranked or lower-level to get on the elevator before you. This is not a sign of weakness, it is simply a display of courtesy. When you see this same person in the hallway you smile, but he or she only returns the favor when alone. Fast forward to the company picnic and this same person (who does not speak to you regularly) offers to get you a beer or glass of wine with an added offer of a REAL good time/"happy ending". Now you realize your gesture was seen as an open invitation for socialization.

Last, but not least you have those looking for a savior. You know the type. Attending a BBQ/house party at a friend or relative's house when someone gets a nasty food stain. You grab a cup of club soda and a napkin and politely pass it to the person who quickly gets out the stain. Or the single parent whose child is two seconds away from running head-first into the 60-inch plasma screen, whom you quickly redirect and save. Alas the entire party you have gained a loyal follower, a fan who sticks to you like glue. He/she is gushing about you as the hero of the year and shamelessly trying to force a cell number your way.

Here's the catch. Often people give us signs, but we are too quick to dismiss them. Red flags are just that. A message that says STOP/HAULT/DO NOT PASS GO. So she giggles too much and laughs at stuff that isn't funny. Perhaps he has told you three times in one conversation about his occupation. Either way the person is extremely attractive so you give he/she a pass. I am not suggesting you cut people out of your life for frivolous reasons, but intuition, gut feelings, discernment exist for a reason. Forty-five passes later you are in divorce litigation, filing charges at the police station, researching the missing funds in your bank account, nursing bruises and wounds.

If something does not seem right, recognize it immediately. Do not make excuses for a person's strange behavior. Selfishness, aloofness, neediness, abusers, users, immaturity are often easy to spot. Let's not be so desperate for business, love, friendship, money or votes that we overlook the obvious. We humans waste precious time analyzing everything but the basics. Trust me you will pay for it later. I learned the hard way!

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