It had been a while since I had a face-to-face with a good friend of mine.
But as soon as he opened his mouth, he told me how people are full of “you know what.”
I was taken back by his diatribe which went as follows…
- People lie all the time, about every thing.
- Emails and voice-mails are not returned.
- People are insincere.
- People are two-faced.
- People are mean.
- People lack caring and empathy.
- People are obsessed with their smartphones at the expense of real life.
- People are unreliable.
- People are back-stabbers.
- People are rude and insensitive.
- People are self-absorbed.
- People are nuts.
After this long litany of complaint, I came to the defense of modern humanity and offered these explanations.
- People are stressed.
- People are afraid.
- People are distracted.
- People are confused.
- People are getting older.
- People mean well, but are overwhelmed.
- People are time-starved.
- People make mistakes.
And most of all…
People feel unloved.
I don’t think people are out to get us, or deliberately ignore us. They simply lack coping skills, take life way too seriously, and are frustrated with the state of the world.
I then dared to suggest that my friend do the following to help turn things around within his network of friends, acquaintances and yes, even family members.
Be more understanding of the daily pressures people are under. We have no idea what struggles they may be facing, either disclosed or undisclosed. Try to give people the benefit of the doubt, at least on the first occasion of contact.
We all have to press the pause button and show some good old fashioned love, support and kindness in the form of simply saying, “You know what? I really appreciate you, and here’s why…” Then perhaps – just perhaps, we will get that return phone call.
Part of the problem, I believe, is that people are starved for meaning and purpose in their lives – and many are resigned to a life of indifference. Combat this growing malaise by letting them know that they are important to you.
Never forget to smile and say little jokes to break the mood of seriousness. Be that shining light that allows others to lighten up. I know a business contact whose sense of humor is what gets her through her days of chronic pain. She may be disabled, but she’s a miracle – inviting others to laugh along with her. Use humor to restart your relationships.
Lower expectations of people. They are flawed, unpredictable creatures who function mainly on emotion and matters of the heart. Keep this in mind.
We may consider some people on the same level as “crap”. But people, as a whole, are generally well intentioned, fighting an increasing wave of life complexities.