We have all encounter people in our lives who are so obviously thinking only of themselves. They are so self absorbed that they don’t consider how their words or actions effect others. Or even the times when their lack of words effect others.
Like the person who doesn’t bother to ask how you are when you ask how they are. Actually, there is someone I come into contact with fairly often who is like this. He’s not necessarily someone I consider a friend, but more of an acquantance. But I will chat with him for a few minutes when we run into each other. And that is usually at least once a week. Each time, as I head off on my way, I say “Have a nice day!” His response is always the same … “I’ll try.” And each time I think to myself … “Thanks, I’ll have a nice day too!” as I roll my eyes. (I’m not facing him, so he never sees that I do this). I also tell myself to make a mental note to not say “Have a nice day” the next time I see him. But I do. Every single time. Because it’s ingrained in me to say that or an equivalent of that.
There are also times when I come across someone in public, someone I don’t know, who’s is doing something without thinking how it will effect those around them. Like the guy on the subway who was playing a game on his phone, with the sound effects playing very loudly. Imagine having to listen to THIS for your entire 45 minute commute. I actually asked him politely if he could maybe turn the sound effects to mute, as it was very distracting to me and I was trying to read. His “solution” was to turn his back towards me without lowering the sound at all. I guess he thought his body would block the noise. That or he just didn’t want the dirty look I kept flashing him after he had ignored my polite request.
This morning on the subway (it seems that there are quite a few self absorbed people who take mass transit!) there was a young woman who stood directly in front of where I sat. And while it was great that I had gotten a seat, as she stood there with her earbuds in her ears listening to whatever music she was listening to, she began to dance. Not just a little “bopping”, but full blown “finger tutting”. Don’t know what that is? Neither did I. But I did a search on YouTube for “hand movements dance”, and found a ton of videos on “finger tutting” and THIS one is best to show what she was doing! She also was moving her legs/feet a bit too. It was so distracting that I tried to close my eyes to block her out, while I listened to a podcast. But I could actually still see the shadows of her movements behind my closed eyelids! I could have said something, but after game boy (no, not the hand held gaming console, but the jerk mentioned earlier in this blog post), I realized it wasn’t worth it.
I cannot imagine that dance girl didn’t realize that her subway dance practice could be annoying to those around her. But maybe she didn’t. Maybe she was just “doing her thing” and didn’t think about it. Game boy may not have realized he was being annoying … ok, yes he did! He totally knew. But he probably didn’t think anyone would call him on it. Or maybe he did and didn’t care. I mean, his turning his back to me showed that he couldn’t care less that he was being a jerk. Maybe it showed that he was actually trying to be a jerk.
All of these situations that have happened pretty recently, and the many more that I (and you) come across, made me start to wonder … what is it that I am doing that I don’t realize is annoying to someone else? I mean, I try to be a considerate person. I try to think how I would feel if I were in another’s shoes. But, you see, that’s the thing … even when I try to think how someone else may feel by the things I say or do, I’m actually not really seeing it from the other person’s point of view, but from my own. Because I only know how it would make ME feel. Which may or may not be how someone else would feel. So, in a sense, I am being self absorbed even when trying to be considerate of others.
How can any of us think that we’re not be annoying? We are probably annoying someone at sometime! There is never going to be a time when EVERYONE agrees on EVERYTHING. There will always be someone who feels and views things differently.
So, what should we do about that? Do we ask everyone we encounter … “Hey, is what I’m doing annoying to you?” Obviously we can’t do that, nor would we want to. Could you imagine what a can of worms that would open?
I think the best thing we can do is, the next time we’re annoyed by someone else, just stop and think to ourselves … who have I potentially annoyed recently? Maybe then we can have more patience towards those who, without realizing it, are annoying us.
But no patience for Mr. Game Boy! He was just a jerk!!