Friday, July 14, 2017

     I am always fascinated by peoples’ behavior. Why do we repeat negative gossip to our friends? Why do we insult someone’s recent purchase by telling them we’ve heard their choice was crap? Why do we scroll through hundreds of photos on our cell phones to show our friends how beautiful our grandchildren are? What’s wrong with people? Don’t they know we have grandchildren too, but we choose not to brag about them. 

     The other day, Mr. Wonderful told me that a so-called friend repeated very negative comments about the kind of car we have. I said, “Why would he repeat that to you?” I said, if only I had learned to be assertive, I would have said to him, “And the reason you are repeating these negative comments about a car you know I love is . . . ? How am I supposed to feel about your intentions?” Are people just careless? Are they really intentionally rude? We’re talking friends here, not total strangers.

     A “friend” once said to me, “People don’t understand how the two of us can be such good friends.” I thought later, “What’s that supposed to mean?” I know, I know. You’re supposed to ask the person for clarification, but I am always afraid of the answer. Heaven forbid, if I have ever been so insensitive to say something that would intentionally hurt a friend. I’m sure I have done it, but I hope it hasn’t been in the last 40 years. I pray I have matured enough to keep negative thoughts to myself and think about how my comments will be received.

     The other night, we were out with new friends. The husband remembered that I had performed three concerts in April. He asked, “How did your programs go?” I was so delightfully flabbergasted that he remembered, I was almost speechless. Very few ever asks me about my one-woman shows that I spend almost a year preparing. Our grand piano is white and takes up a large space in our great room. It’s not that they can forget that I play. Hello.

     Why is it so hard to be kind and sensitive? Do we really exist in a hate culture. I sure hope not. When I was a child, manners were a given. You respected your elders. You never interrupted. You  were told to engage with your grandparents and relatives. You only said kind things. You were taught not to repeat gossip and always to question its veracity. 

     I am not talking about young children here, however, I am talking about my peers. These people were brought up in my generation. They know better. Is it really that hard to be kind? Are we so selfish, narcissistic that we can’t offer a compliment? 

     We were at a large meeting today. A woman who just moved here a couple of months ago sat at our table all alone. Mr. Wonderful immediately engaged her in conversation asking her where she was from, how she liked it here so far, etc. She was immediately put at ease by his effortless kindness. We both do this. If someone is new or alone, we always try to make them feel part of the group. We introduce them to people we know. We believe in connection, and the best way to connect is to be genuinely kind. How sad is it that we are “delightfully flabbergasted” by someone’s kindness?