There is a particular type of behavior that rubs me wrong. I’m sorry if the following describes you; but if it does, rather than get mad at me, go ahead and take this opportunity to change your ways. I’m pretty sure I’m not the only person you’re bothering.
The truth is, I probably like you on the whole—and value the respect you have for your parents. Your work ethic is admirable and you make a killer casserole. However, I do not enjoy your attempts at getting a reaction.
Calling me and saying, “Heyyy, we need to talk” is a surefire way to be the least endearing person on the face of the planet. Wanna take a stab at being even less adorable? Then send me this text, “Hey, when are we going to discuss the elephant in the room?”
My eyes will glaze over with the desire for you to go play in traffic. I’m sorry—I know that’s harsh and I don’t really want you to do that (unless you promise to wear a blindfold). No, wait! I’m sorry—I don’t mean it! You’ve just trounced on my last nerve and now I’m lashing out. Come back, let’s discuss this like adults.
I promise you, it’s better to just be upfront. Drop the dramatics and just come out with it. Take a deep breath and say “Hey, here’s the deal—your salsa is too spicy for me.” I will LOVE you for this. There is no need to make me cringe from here to eternity as you set up a talk. Just step up to the plate and say what you have to say and I’ll use jalapenos instead of habaneros next time we get together.
Same rules apply for tougher issues. If you say to me, “There is something a bit touchy that we need to discuss and I know it’s going to upset you.” Please, for the love of all that is good in this world, just say, “I know we planned on taking a vacation together, but I need to spend my extra money on LASIK.” Boom, done, accepted. You have to know I want your vision to be 20/20. I mean, I love you—of course I loathe your near-sightedness as much as you do.
I’m not finished. There is a worse offender of trying to get a reaction—and this one is harder to forgive. It’s the Facebook post devised to get a reaction and draw inquiring responses. You know the status updates I speak of and you know who you are. Here we go.
“I guess hindsight IS 20/20.”
What?! Really?! That’s your update? Are you that starved for reactions? How do you expect people to reply? Is it actually satisfying to see people who care about you flood your wall with:
“Honey what happened?!”
“Oh no, what?”
“Bro, what’s up man—you alright?”
Is that gratifying?
When you post, “Well … I guess not everyone learned manners!”, does it do your heart good to see how many people rally around you with:
“Who hurt you?!”
“What in the world happened?!”
“Oh no, not what I think, right?!”
Are you just sitting back, nodding and grinning at how you’ve worked people up?
You post, “It was bound to happen someday”, and all your poor friends are responding with:
“Please tell us now!”
“Praying for you during this difficult time.”
But guess what? All I’m doing to reeling off these mock possibilities:
The batteries on your fire alarm went out during daylight hours?
You had a piece of rogue lettuce in your Taco Bueno burrito?
You got approached to be in a Cialis commercial with Al Gore?
I feel so very, very certain that if you just came on out with it, you’d get the same number of responses but save everyone the (relative) stress of wondering if everything is OK.
I think we should band together to stop this particular Facebook behavior (we’ll join forces again later to stop people from over-sharing personal information). We should all commit to replying in kind to these posts.
When you happen upon, “I never expected this”, I implore you to reply as quickly as possible, “Sorry for your lack of planning, but you’ll never in a million years guess what happened on the cheese aisle at Costco today.”
If you log in and read, “I’ve never been more sorry about anything”, please reply, “I could say the same thing after what I just did in front of Aunt Delores.”
I know two wrongs don’t make a right, but I’m also a strong believer in flipping the script on folks who impede the peaceful progress of the human race. We are a team—those of us with opposable thumbs—and when we encounter people who derail us from getting where we need to go, we have to put a mirror to their behavior.
So let’s recap. If someone calls you and says, “We have a problem and we need to talk,” keep your cool and say, “I like you and I’m going to give you the opportunity to try this again. I’m hanging up and I want you to call me back and tell me sometimes my fourth spritz of perfume is too much.”
And when you log into your Facebook account later and see that your college roommate has updated her status to, “I guess it’s time to turn the other cheek,” please reply within seconds, “Yeah, but after what I just did, I’m praying an ‘eye for an eye’ is just a metaphor.”
Last, but not least, if any of you ever see the Facebook status update, “Upset,” I trust you know what to do. Unfriend.
It’s our duty. Will you join me?
I’d love for you to join me on Facebook!