Personality and Behavior (was RE: [Northkeep] Sir Balvins Defence)

Anthony Lackey catan at
Fri May 31 20:31:47 PDT 2002

    It's easy to see that even a serious discussion of an issue about hurt
feelings can lead to...well, hurt feelings.
    As usual, I'm coming back to this one tardily, but I have a recommendation
for everyone who is truly interested in newcomer outreach/retaining shy
members/trying to be a nice human being:
    The cheapest, easiest and MOST EFFECTIVE way to do any or all of the above
is SMILE AND MAKE 2 SECONDS OF EYE CONTACT with everyone you pass.  If you're in
a hurry, just wear the smile and lightly pass with a nanosecond of eye contact.
If you're interested in making a bigger effort, SAY HELLO.  You don't even have
to break stride, much less stop.  Really, this has a much huger effect than it
sounds like. I am also a person who has trouble approaching people I don't know.

I was forced to get over that in a hurry when I became an apprentice.  I had to
keep it up after getting a Laurel because not being friendly-seeming gets the
result of A.
Peers must sure be stuck-up, B. Unintentionally intimidating people and
contributing to "peer fear" (yeah, really.) C. Missing out on opportunities to
teach and make things nice for other people, which is generally thought to be a
part of the job.  When I finally understood how amazingly effective a simple
smile could be, it's like, "everybody can do it!"
    Those that are thinking quite legitimately that we should not be enablers of
self-destructive, passive-aggressive behaviors are correct.  Those who say it is
our obligation to practice chivalry and courtesy are correct.  You can do both
by using this technique.  It's not falling down apologetically sobbing at a
person's feet, clutching their legs and begging them to stay.  It's not saying
good riddance, you manipulative jerk with an agenda.  It's just...a smile and
eye contact.
    I hope you'll all try it.  It really, really, works.


Marc Carlson wrote:

> >From: cchipman at (Carl Chipman)
> >Diarmaid, I know you're just being sarcastic, but there is a vein of
> >truth to your tongue-in-cheek statement.
> Oh, don't get me wrong - my message was thoroughly serious.  I had been
> previously confused by people talking about "chivalry" and "The Dream" and
> crap like that.  Obviously it's not something people feel willing to try to
> -actually- make an effort at.
> That's fine with me - I'm all up for being an asshole.  In fact, it takes a
> lot of work for me NOT to be one most of the time.  If you don't like that -
> suck it up and get over it.  But don't delude yourself that I'm acting or
> pretending.
> No one ever suggested 'aiding and abetting self destructive behavior'.
> What was suggest was recognizing that a lot of people may have trouble
> fitting in with groups, thinking about how you come across, and making an
> attempt to help those feel welcome might be a good idea.  The response has
> pretty much been "to hell with those whiners".  That's your choice.  It will
> certainly keep down on the populace numbers.
> Personally, I have found that simply trying to work with people was good
> enough, but clearly that's not what want to hear -- they want to hear that
> they are in the right for selfishly ignoring others.  My problems with "the
> Group" have traditionally not had anything to do with not feeling like I fit
> in.  My personal problems have tended to be based on hypocrisy and people
> claiming one thing and doing another.
> That's obviously the problem here, as well.  That's my mistake, and MY fault
> for having even minimal expectations of other people.
> BTW, I didn't forward the original message.  Ainar did.
> Marc/Diarmaid
> "Suck it up and get over it" -- Matthew 5-7 (NKV)
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