The Shit List

A while back I ended up on a newer friend’s shit list, unbeknownst to me. After a few days of short interactions or lack of interaction when possible, it was apparent that it wasn’t just a bad mood, but completely about something I did to upset this person. I did not know what I had done, so I had to backtrack to the place where I last saw the keys of friendship that I had lost.

The next opportunity I had to speak with this person, I asked if it was a case of me saying something offensive: Yes it was. It turns out I made a comment, completely intended as a joke, that was interpreted as something completely different. Upon discovering what the comment was, I was stumped as to why it was offensive. I asked, and as it turns out, the way the comment was interpreted touched upon a sore spot within this person’s past experiences. So, I apologized, having not meant it as anything but a joke, and told this person that it would not happen again now that I knew where the issue was. I asked if we were cool, and the reply was yes.

However, since then, any attempt to connect to hang out hasn’t received a reply. In short, I’m on their shit list. After 2 attempts at communication, I usually give up if someone doesn’t reply: I can take a hint. But it is sad I cannot tell this person my philosophy about how I handle people who have wronged me. It boils do to this:

If a person harms me either emotionally or physically, then I tend to forgive it if I can determine if it was unintentional. If it was intentional, then I tend not to forgive and simply to don’t deal with a person. In any cases, I first try to establish motive, then pass judgement upon the proper course of action.

If I think the person is not beyond redemption, or that they are open-minded enough, I try to explain to them how what did was wrong and ultimately detrimental to not just me, but others and ultimately themselves. It ties in with my philosophy of controlling my environment by making things smooth for those around me as long as they do not overstep their bounds into my rights to live a smooth and clam life.

Some people are rude or aggressive as a defense mechanism, while others are too oblivious to their environment to realize that they are rude or aggressive. So, it is sometimes difficult to determine. I ask, “Is this person clueless, just selfish or just mean?” A case could me made that they are all one in the same. But the subtle variations in attitude are important to recognize because they will lead to a proper course of action.

So, in the case where the person is just clueless, a little education to make them see that their lack of mindfulness and concern with how they affect their environment by acting this way is necessary. If a person is selfish, then it is much more difficult, but I might clue them in that while they might win the battle by getting their way. Ultimately they will have a problem they can’t power through. So, when they try to get help, no one will help them because a selfish person, that only cares about their welfare at the expense of others, is not worth people’s time. Picking battles, communicating and compromising is essential to keep your social environment a good one. People that are more selfless than selfish are much more likely to be treated with care, and supported when the proverbial shit hits the fan. This is natural, it is human nature, and is why good Samaritans do what they do. They too understand that by helping others achieve security and peace they too will be better off because their social environment will be better off.

This helping others to help yourself is also the philosophy of what social welfare programs are for that many people have forgotten. If people do not have to scrounge for basic resources: food, shelter, perceived security, then they are not under pressure to do what they must to obtain these basic necessities. So, rather that a person stealing food to feed their family, they walk into the store with government food credits. Rather than them having to rob or burglarize people to provide for themselves, they live in low-income housing. And rather than sleep on the streets where the incidence of violence and disease escalate that lands them in the hospital or jails, where the public picks up a larger bill, they receive public assistance and hopefully temporary or permanent housing. Keeping people off the streets not only lowers emergency room visits, and the costs of care, it also keeps the streets safer, cleaner and the overall environment nicer for everyone. Also the cost of preventing crime or disease by taking care of the poor proactively is a fraction of costs in a reactive society. For the reactive cost of 1 disease that requires hospitalization or 1 crime that requires police, prosecution and possibly incarceration, many can be prevented.

Back in the social space, the emotional cost of a negative environment is higher than the cost of preventing such an environment. While a negative environment might cost one good opportunities, experiences or advantages, a positive environment’s costs are fairly low: be flexible with others, and keep communication clear and open. Don’t be afraid to assert your personal boundaries and learn to distinguish where your rights end and other people’s rights begin.

But no one is perfect, and eventually you will screw up. When you do, take responsibility, and try to find out where you went wrong so you don’t do it again. The old adage: “learn from your mistakes” is all about doing just that. But many people think that learning involves trying to assign blame to others instead of seeing where they went wrong and what they could have done to prevent it, if anything. In those cases, the other adage “Those who do not learn from history are doomed to repeat it” is more appropriate  though, if one realizes, personal history is also a type of history.


One thought on “The Shit List

  1. Harmony begets joy, joy begets opportunity, opportunity begets betterment, betterment begets harmony. Ok so I may have picked the wrong word for what opportunity begets, but it really is a self sustaining circle, you just have to keep stoking the outlook of helping others. In the end it’s a snowball effect for the good.

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