Thursday 5 August 2004

forget your troubles, c'mon get happy

I am going to share an important life lesson I have learned in the 35+ years I've been on this planet. It's a simple truth, and yet it seems to elude many people.

The fact is, sometimes people aren't going to like you. These people might be family members, friends, flat or housemates, or work colleagues. They might not like you for legitimate reasons (e.g. you flushed their cat down the toilet and never did apologise properly) or for nonsensical reasons (e.g. you wear far too much Polo cologne), but the truth is that you're not always going to be everyone's cup of tea. Following me so far? Excellent.

Although it's not very nice to discover that you're not on everyone's top ten list of people they enjoy spending large amounts of time with, it's not the end of the world. Far from it. It's how you deal with it that makes you come out looking and smelling like a daisy. Regarding the people who dislike you for no good reason, just let it go. These people have what we call "issues" or "Mylifesuckssoimtakingitoutonyou-itis", and they are not worth your precious time nor your energy. If people don't like you for a legitimate reason, take a close look at that reason and try to be objective about it. Was flushing the cat without saying anything really the best way to deal with the situation? Or could you have conducted a simple, honest chat with the kitty's owner explaining what happened? Maybe you had a good reason for flushing Mr. Mittens; it could have been an accident, perhaps. Addressing the issue directly not only shows your maturity, it demonstrates your ability to take responsibility for your actions and shows you are willing to make an effort to amend things. Slamming the lid down quickly, spraying an Airwick, and quietly closing the bathroom door does not. Nor does it help if you subsequently make out like Mr. Mittens had been bullying you for months and you had to flush in self defense. Even worse if you get someone else to defend you on your behalf.

With me still? Sorry, I truly don't dislike cats; it was the first analogy that came to mind. I do apologise.

So here's what I have learned: when you are dealing with people you have to see almost every day of your waking life, you learn to get on with things. If there is a problem, talk to the person about it. Most people are reasonable and don't expect much anyway. It takes mere seconds to show others that you are being productive and to acknowledge an issue someone may have. People like that. It also takes far more time to ignore people or to raise a stink about a situation. People don't like that. To summarise: being open and communicative is good. Being mean and petty is bad.

Tomorrow's lesson - how to make a joke without offending anyone. (This will be extremely brief.)

No comments: