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I understand that not everyone follows the same moral compass I follow (what-a-pity), but I think there are a few things we could all agree on.

Yes, I say this, but I’m 100% sure that someone will say, “nope, nope, I disagree.”

Good for you – I doubt we’d agree on much, then.

  1. Honesty is always, always, always (repeat infinitely) the best (and only) policy.

Here’s why I think you should always be honest: the truth will always (always, always, always) come out. You could easily save face by being upfront. You lose several things when the truth comes out. You lose trust, your own trust in that person (if you can easily lie to someone, how easy would it be for them to lie to you, too?), and potentially that person. See, some people are okay with lies. Some people are not. If you find yourself knee-deep in a lie, staring at someone who doesn’t tolerate liars, just know I told you so.

I read this book on how to spot a liar. I trust my gut on most things, but as the book explains, sometimes we want to give people the benefit of the doubt. We want to believe that we are being paranoid. We ignore our gut, because we want to believe there are good people out there. We want to believe that someone couldn’t look us straight in the eye and lie to our face.

People are liars. Trust your gut. If it smells like bs, it’s probably bs. Even if it’s the faintest of scents, you’re probably dealing with a liar.

I’m sure you’re thinking there are certain times when lies are okay.

“Those jeans do not make your butt look like an amorphous blob.”

“I think you’re a great employee.”

“No, I didn’t forget your birthday.”

“Sure, I’d like to hang out.”

If someone’s butt doesn’t look good, and they’re asking for your input, you should tell them. Unless you’re someone I won’t name, you probably want the truth. Actually, if you don’t want the truth, don’t ask a question.

If someone sucks at their job, you should tell them (if the opportunity presents itself—tactfully).

You should remember a birthday, but it happens. Some people just won’t be that important to you, and that’s okay. Big whoop. They will live.

If you don’t want to hang out, say you don’t want to hang out. I’m guilty of making plans and knowing dang-well that I will bail as I make the plan. In my defense, I picture it and think, “yeah, that could be non-miserable.” After more thinking, I realize that I’d rather swallow bees, and I come up with some excuse. I am working on this, and I apologize if I’ve done this (sorry, I just need baby steps if I havent seen you in a while. Tea date and then go from there).

So, always be honest. People are surprisingly resilient. Will you eventually hurt someone’s feelings? Most definitely. I’d rather have my feelings hurt than be lied to. If you can’t respect someone enough to be honest with them, what kind of a person are you? Not someone I’d like to know, that’s for sure.

That’s just me, though. Again, my moral compass is a bit skewed in comparison to a couple people.

2. If you have nothing nice to say, keep it to yourself.

Yes, we’re all thinking that so-and-so is a blabber mouth that can’t stop talking about (insert something you don’t care for), but you bringing attention to it is worthless. We already probably exchanged an eye roll (if you know me), but that’s as far as it needs to go. I think this also depends on who you’re talking to.

For example: if you and I are close, we’ve reached the point in our relationship where we’ve vented about something before, then go ahead and tell me about your crappy coworker. Vent your little heart out, because I’m sure I can empathize (about most things).

On the other hand, if I hardly know you, if you open your mouth and only negative dribble spills forth, I don’t want to know you. It doesn’t matter if I’ve had the same negative thought (I probably have), but I wouldn’t say it to just anyone. It’s really unattractive unless I know you anyway. So, yes, this is a personal thing that I find offensive. I think you can understand why, though.

Also, being nice is harshly underrated. You don’t have to be a butt-kisser, but simply being polite and respectful will get you a lot farther than negativity.

Be nice.

3. There is absolutely no reason to call someone a name ever. Ever.

Some people will argue that it’s just the way it is. I sincerely hope that those people are called every name in the book and have to deal with it.

There’s no reason to call someone stupid. People can behave foolishly, sure. Telling someone that s/he is stupid…UGH. I just want to punch you in the temple. Here’s the thing: people know when they screwed up. They don’t need your rude self telling them.

Stupid is on the lighter end of the scale. We have all sorts of names: idiot, moron, bitch,, ass, dick, etc.

If you accidentally blurt something out (I’ve done this once and felt the worst pang of guilt ever), APOLOGIZE and NEVER do it again. Sure, maybe people don’t take this as seriously as I do (no one does, I know. What a shame), but you should still apologize.

It’s disrespectful. If you wouldn’t call your mother that, then you shouldn’t call anyone that. I don’t care if you are actually a total douchebag (look, I had to say it. Some people are, are aware of it, and just don’t care), you shouldn’t name call.

Yes, I was definitely a hypocrite right there, but I’m referring to a group of people. I’m not singling anyone out. Also, if you think you belong in the aforementioned group, you probably do, and you should make a hasty getaway.

4. Unless you’re on a field, in need of help, at a concert, or something similar, you shouldn’t shout/scream.

Maybe this is just me, but I hate when people raise their voices. So, you had a bad day? You stubbed your toe? Did someone irritate you?

THERE’S NO REASON TO YELL.

First of all, everyone around you will think you’re a psycho.

Okay, maybe they won’t think you’re a psycho, but they will think you’re immature and childish.

Throwing tantrums is what children do. No one over the age of ten should be throwing a tantrum (I say this, because my kids will be well-behaved, upstanding citizens).

Here’s the thing: no one and nothing owes you a darn thing. So, if something does not go your way, you better take a chill pill, and calm yourself. Has yelling ever solved anything?

I don’t speak for everyone, but I speak for anyone I’ve seen shout: no.

Most likely, I will stare (wide-eyed) and wait for your moment of hysteria to pass. After that, I’ll ask what that solved. You’ll say (in a justified tone), “I feel better.”

Maybe you do, I really don’t know, but now you just look crazy. I understand that not everyone is capable of containing their thoughts/emotions as well as I can, but everyone should. If I shouted every time something didn’t go my way, I’d need a voice box. Yes, that’s right, things blow up in my face every day, but what am I going to do?

That’s right: take a moment, either write it down, put on some music, or go for a run. Find things to let that out. Just never, ever, under any circumstance, raise your voice to anyone. If they’re anything like me, you will have your childish butt handed to you, and you’ll feel like the immature child you are—not better.

5. Apologize when you’re wrong.

This one is tough, because no one thinks they’re ever wrong. I’ll use myself as a perfect example. When I listen to another person’s advice or thoughts, I’m more inclined to behave in a way that isn’t totally me.

I’m always wrong, because I’m not being myself. No matter the outcomes, if I’m not being true to myself, I’m wrong.

On the day to day, I follow my gut and ignore what anyone says. I’m straight-forward, and I’m happy with all of my decisions. There are those one-off days, though, when I let someone’s opinion sway mine and then I second-guess everything.

These days are the worst, because I behave unlike myself. I’ve done this in the past, and I’ve regretted it. I was only capable of apologizing, because I wasn’t really apologizing for myself, so much as I was apologizing for being a dweeb. I doubt that makes sense, but bear with me.

So, it can take a while to realize you’re wrong. For me, it ranges between one to two days. I go through a scale of thoughts until I realize, ah drats, that was totally my B.

I don’t know what the thought process is for others, but I know mine is fairly quick, because I hate being wrong. I’d like to expunge my record ASAP and pretend it never happened.

Maybe that’s the way you could look at it. If you realize you’re wrong, get it over with and apologize. Of course, you have to commit to not making the same mistake again.

Also, a good rule of thumb is if you feel guilty, then you’re probably wrong. This goes hand in hand with your gut. Trust that thing. If you really listen to it, you always know where you stand. It’s amazing how the brain will rationalize everything away, but you can still feel torn. Maybe that’s just how I feel when I’m wrong.

On the other hand, if you genuinely feel good, then you’re probably right,

Or you’re a sociopath—I’ll let you decide.

6. Don’t use the word Just.

I recently learned this, and I’m thankful I did. When someone tells you something, you should never add “just” to the beginning of your response. It will make their entire dilemma seem like a trivial issue that could’ve been solved decades ago if only you dropped your knowledge on them sooner.

Presumptuous.

When I was younger, I had one serious issue that plagued me. A handful of those close to me caught wind of it once or twice, and I’ll never forget how angry I felt at their advice. “You should just…”

Yeah? I could just do that. Wow. Let me bow down to thee. How did my puny little brain miss that answer? Unbelievable. Here, let me kiss your feet.

No, you don’t JUST do anything. People don’t ask for advice. Well, I don’t ask for advice. When people do ask for advice, you can bet that they’ve thought of everything at least four times. So, if they’re finally spilling the beans to you, it’s most likely because they need to vent. I could be wrong, but that’s usually how my course of action has gone.

Similarly, even as I grew up, I still received the “Just” answer. Just Just Just.

I know this is something that can happen so easily, but you have to try to be aware of it. I’m almost 95% sure that I still preface my advice with “just,” but I’m really working on this. Also, I try not to offer advice unless asked, but even then, it’s delicate, because I get it. People (well, except for dramatic folk) don’t like to discuss their problems. So, when they do, you can’t roll it up and deliver it like a generic, DUH answer. Even if it seems obvious to you (and it will sometimes), you should be thoughtful about it. Never say just. It’s just (ha) not considerate.

7. Be considerate.

I think this one is overlooked, because people can be self-involved. Try to put yourself in someone else’s shoes every day before you say or do anything to them. If you aren’t being honest, if you aren’t being kind, if you wouldn’t like someone to do that to you—don’t bother them.

If we really had to reap what we sowed on a daily basis, I highly doubt we’d treat people the way we do. I keep my circle of people relatively small for many reasons. The first one is because I don’t really vibe with many people. I’m pretty sensitive, so the tiniest thing can turn me off. To me, it’s not tiny. A slight is a slight no matter how you slice it; therefore, I try to stay away from anyone that seems to have crappy behavior. I’m learning that people aren’t inherently crappy (LOL I’m working toward learning this, but I’m not totally sold). A crappy action doesn’t make you a crappy person.

Well, in my eyes it does, but that’s another topic.

So, because of this, my circle is pretty tight.

I do, however, have to mingle with the general public every now and again, and I try to be as considerate as possible.

If you wouldn’t want something done to you, don’t do it to someone else. It seems like the easiest thing to comprehend, and—yet—I’m genuinely surprised each time someone is inconsiderate.

That’s all I have for etiquette in life. I’m sure I’ll have more by next month, but this is the bare bones of it. I know it seems like common sense, but as Voltaire said, “common sense is not so common.”

I’ll leave you with one of my favorite quotes as of late: “One of my main regrets in life is giving considerable thought to inconsiderate people.” Jarod Kintz

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