3 Things To Learn Before You Interact With Others

My husband was out to lunch with friends, one of whom is dying of cancer. His doctors just told him it was time to seek hospice care as there is nothing else curative to be done. While he knew this was coming, it was a blow.

So there they were, enjoying the company of good friends and just trying to have some fun in the face of life and death. His friend ordered cheesecake and discovered the middle part was frozen. He called the hostess to the table and began:

“Could I make a suggestion?”

From there he described the frozen cake problem politely offered solutions. He likely went into way more detail than needed. And, yes, the conversation did go on longer than it should have, partly because brain tumors are clouding his ability to read situations clearly and partly because the hostess gave a detailed explanation about the person who hadn’t shown up for work and how that affected the kitchen. But the friend wasn’t rude or belligerent and the hostess didn’t seem upset by the interaction.

Ten minutes later a man who had been dining nearby left the restaurant. As he passed my husband’s table, he tossed a note onto it and took off without speaking.

The note said something like: “How dare you bother all the other patrons with your petty complaints about the frozen dessert…” It went on in detail. Our friend was pretty upset about it.

I said I would have chased the guy down the street and shared my thoughts about how much he had hurt someone who was already suffering . My husband said he was similarly inclined but was sitting in the middle of the interior booth seat and couldn’t get out fast enough.

Probably just as well. You never know who’s armed these days.

But it got me thinking and left me with 3 conclusions.

  1. You can’t know what you don’t know about others. You interact with people all the time. If you’re not careful you may really be hurting someone or insinuating yourself into a situation you have no business being in. What we say and do matters, more than we often know. Be mindful.
  2. If you have something worth saying, say it. Tossing a note is the action of a coward. If you want to deliver a message, be courageous enough to accept a reaction to it.
  3. Be more tolerant. If a diner near you is a bit loud, let that go. There are real problems to be solved in the world, loudness in a restaurant isn’t one of them.

I’m just saying…and if I could have, I’d have said it to that guy’s face.

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8 Responses to “3 Things To Learn Before You Interact With Others

  • I agree, Debby. What a cowardly thing to do, throw a note and then walk off.
    We do not know what is going on in other people’s lives and yes, there are far more important things to worry about then moaning if someone is a little loud!

    • I wonder when I see people annoyed like that guy was, if this was really what bothered him or if he wasn’t just cranky about other stuff going on in his life and didn’t like seeing a bunch of friends enjoying each other’s company. Either way, it was uncool to do what he did.

  • So true and an important reminder to us all. We never know what another person is going through. Giving them the benefit of the doubt is a good life strategy.

    • Benefit of the doubt is a good mantra when we find ourselves annoyed with others, I think. Thanks.

  • What a bozo that guy was! I’ve seen a post on Facebook that goes something like, “Be kind. You don’t know what battles the other person is fighting.” Too bad that jerk hasn’t figured that out.
    All my best to your husband’s friend, Debby.

    • Ah, Carol, you are so much more polite than I feel in this situation. Bozo seems polite compared to some of what I might have called him! Thanks for the kind thoughts toward our friend. This is a tough time, I guess it gets no worse than what he’s going through now. Oh, I hope, anyway.

  • What an ass! I certainly would have chased him out the door. Then again, it’s hard for me to hold back my opinions, lol. But the bottom line is the old adage, ‘You don’t know what someone has been through until you’ve walked in their shoes.” 🙂

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