Have you ever had someone accuse you of an offense that you were totally unaware of? Maybe you unknowingly got ahead of them in line at the coffee shop.
Or you inched out of a lane in a parking lot so you could see, and someone approaching too fast had to swerve around you, cursing you all the way.
I feel icky with this happens. I want to explain it wasn’t intentional. But the damage is already done. Many times, the offended doesn’t want to hear it.
Of Course It Can Go Both Ways
Recently I met with an acquaintance at local cafe. During our discussion she kept looking around. She didn’t maintain eye contact. Was I boring her? Why did she even want to meet with me if she wasn’t going to give me her attention?
At one point I did ask her if she was looking for something. She said no and came back to me, for a moment. Our relationship was not such that I would say more to her about it.
During our coffee she mentioned she and her boyfriend had broken up. I didn’t connect this to the behavior I saw.
I came away from the meeting wondering just what was going on. She’s not a rude person. Later she contacted me, apologizing. She said she saw a few people at the café who were common friends of her and her ex.
It hit her harder than she expected. She wasn’t ready to speak with them. She felt like she had to keep looking over her shoulder or watch for who was listening.
Sometimes We Need To Practice The Same Lesson Over & Over
This is not the first time you’ve heard a story like this. It won’t be the last. I needed yet another lesson on expecting the best of people.
My fellow instigator, Jane Perdue, has written a magnificent piece on unconditional positive regard. Message received, Universe.
I was complaining to a fellow blogger the other day about a really nasty comment someone made on one of my posts. “How do you handle this, Andrew?”
He said that he started by imagining they were just having a bad day. That’s a level of maturity and compassion I aspire to. How about you?