Many of the general rules in life can be summed up pretty easily, and applied nearly universally. Whether personally or professionally many of the guidelines for behavior are the same. It doesn’t matter if its interacting with family, friends, lovers, co-workers, casual acquaintances or perfect strangers, good behavior and etiquette still applies. This is all the more true when there is more to risk, more to lose. Sometimes we fully acknowledge what it as risk, and so act more appropriately or be our better selves. Many times, however, we under estimate the potential impact or what is at stake.
Is it okay to purposefully cut someone off in traffic thinking its okay because you can get away with it? Funny story, some moron did this to me, and I let it go – only to see they parked into the same office for the same employer. Now I know where you work and how to find you. Will that always be the case, no – but that’s the point; you never know. Now take that scenario and tweak it a little – maybe the offender is in that angry mood looking for a fight? What if they find it because someone didn’t take their anti-psychotics that day? Maybe the “target” as a weapon handy and was looking for an excuse to use it? Maybe that kind and gentle smiling older person is a 7+ degree dan, being calm and collected can look passive, but the skill acquired to be that way is nothing to toy with.
Lesson – No one is immune from the potential of tragic or catastrophic consequences just because you don’t know someone.
The scene is no different. People act like complete assholes because they feel safe in their anonymity, or somehow protected that civil convention will eliminate risk of retribution. As an educator & presenter, I’d rather allow myself to think that many folks don’t know any better because they were raised in a barn or by a pack of rabid hyenas than assume they are “out to get me”. I fully own I have a healthy dose of paranoia at times, but I do try not to let it get the better of me by invoking a little compassion.
So, as an educator, its my job to help that don’t know become knowledgeable so they can make better decision. I therefore present my “DON’T BE AN ASSHOLE” – to help assholes recognize when they’re being assholes… especially at events:
A – Assumptions: don’t make assumptions about sexual preference, gender identity, and especially consent.
S – Stalking: don’t follow and pursue, give folks personal space and back off if they gave you a no.
S – Slander: badmouthing and rumor-mongering creates a toxic environment , spreads ill-will and mistrust.
H – Hotheaded: keeping the temper in check and managing your emotions responsibly; keep your cool & recompose if needed.
O – Opinionated: respect others beliefs or choices by not hard-selling a viewpoint or expecting others to agree your opinion.
L – Lying: this includes overt deceit, subtle manipulation, and omission of information – be honest, it costs you nothing.
E – Entitled: don’t look for special treatment, to be catered to, or be handled with kid-gloves; its time to adult.