The Price of Honesty

Once upon a time, when I was younger, and knew everything, I thought that it was okay to let people know I didn’t like them.  I thought that being misanthropic toward people meant I was being honest.  I’m an introvert, so my default setting is to not like anyone, especially when I first meet them.  Therefore, if someone irritated me more than the normal why-do-I-have-to-interact-with-other-humans reaction, I would make sure they knew that I didn’t like them, using snide remarks, sarcasm, and occasionally out and out ignoring.

Yes, as an “adult,” I often acted like a 5 year old.

In my defense, I have made friends with some strange characters who didn’t have boundaries, and in the cases, the only way I found to discourage them from following me around was to be rude.

But still, that’s no reason to treat other people badly.

I had been sort of coming to that realization for awhile.  I realized that the people who I admired most were kind to everyone, and didn’t treat others badly, even when they deserved it.

Then, I started work at a new place, and most everyone ignored me.  They weren’t mean; just indifferent.  I didn’t feel welcome, except for two people who went out of their way to be helpful and kind.  I realized that the “honesty” I thought I was selling was really snake oil.

How you treat people says more about you than it does about them.  What do I want my behavior to say about me?  Do I want it to say that I’m judgmental, unkind, and disinterested?  Or do I want it to say that I’m accepting, kind, and helpful?

I still prefer to be left alone, and it can be hard to get interested in new people, but I try to make an effort, at least to smile and have a conversation, because that’s how I would want someone to treat me.

What do you want your behavior to tell others about you?

Just Don’t Text Me “Ok.” Okay?

Atlantic Ocean, en route to the Bahamas Photo Credit: Doree Weller

Atlantic Ocean, en route to the Bahamas
Photo Credit: Doree Weller

It’s not that I’m against the word, “Ok.”  In spoken language, it has a myriad of meanings and subtle intonations.  It can express doubt, excitement, agreement, irritation, interest, or be a simple act of checking in.  But in text, the flexibility that spoken language gives it becomes a mire of uncertainty.  And quite frankly, it’s lazy.

“Ok” has its place in text messaging.

“Running late.”  “Ok.”

“Meet you at 7?”  “Ok.”

“Fajitas okay for dinner?”  “Ok.”

“Wanna watch House of Cards reruns tonight?”  “Ok.”

But when I’ve taken the time to share an entire thought with people, and they text back “Ok,” it sounds like they were too busy or disinterested to bother to type an entire response.  Even “lol” is a better response.  I know they probably didn’t laugh out loud, but that shorthand tells me that they at least thought my anecdote was amusing.  That they were paying attention.

Please, heed my words!  If you care about someone, unless you’re answering a direct question in which “Ok” is the appropriate response or a placeholder acknowledgement, think before you type those letters.  This has been a public service announcement.