Working with people

I’m generally quite dismissive. There are people I like who’ve read my attitude as hatred because I’m often lost in thought and pleasantries disgust me. And there are people I loathe who refuse to acknowledge it.

Since the sexual harassment seminar last year when I really started thinking about consciously empathizing with different people in different situations (as opposed to typical empathy – what you feel accidentally when someone’s situation mirrors yours or your past) I’ve been focusing on treating people with the same respect whether I like them or not.

It actually started because I realized I’m quite nice to strangers. As a stranger very minor acts can elevate or depress a person’s interpretation of their whole day, that’s a significant power that’s easily managed.

And I grant a lot of patience and empathy to some very difficult people because I have to see them a lot and I feel like I’m reasonable enough to bear the burden of their feelings when they are not and there’s always a solution to be worked toward. And like I’ve said in the past it’s exhausting and at the worst of times feels like humiliation but it also feels important.

Yet I’m largely rude and indifferent to basically nice people whom I simply find annoying.

Maybe it’s that they don’t need help. I know someone who nearly incapable of delegating and runs himself to death trying to do everything so I’ll look for things I can do for him without asking. He has a weakness, I have an insight, we have the solution easy peasy. Annoying people are just taking from me, taking my time and burning up my extremely limited amount of pleasant I can allot for a day.

The trap starts when I do something spiteful and unethical then apologize to one of these people. There’s a honeymoon effect where we’re both a little more pleasant to each other which creates the burdensome illusion that I don’t hate them.

No one’s getting fired though and I can’t choose my friend’s friends so it’s still on me to find a sincere, productive way to deal with people. And the thing is, hating people is exhausting too. I light up a bit when someone I like enters a room and I anger up a notch round people I hate. My brain picks from any crowd the voices of people I dislike and instinctively tracks what they say just to rate how annoying it is, only in the hope of explaining and complaining to someone else and hoping they hate her too. It’s a complete waste of mind.

Everyone else just pretends to like people they don’t and I don’t know how they can stand themselves. Meanwhile I’m trying occasionally yet thoroughly to like people I don’t and that seems pretty futile as well. I guess it’s all pretending and I’m just more of a method actor.

Being nice to strangers is easy because they’re gone immediately, they have no follow up expectations. Being nice to difficult people is important because I’m a difficult person, I need to lead by example and need to not be a hypocrite – I can’t fault people for not seeing I’m in crisis if I don’t look for crisis in others when I’m baseline.

Annoying people though, they’re not empathizing either, they’re doing me the disservice of not gauging my response to their behavior. Annoying people have usually just learned that nice gets you what you want and if not to just be nicer. It’s tedious that I tailor my communication to the people I’m talking to in order to build and maintain rapport while other people just pirouette through life pretending everything is unicorn shit disregarding the wants and needs of others.

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Singer/songwriter, jerk.

Posted in Depression & Suicide, Pragmatism
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