What made me think of this I’m not sure, but there I was awake at 3am thinking about something someone said – and it wasn’t even something that was said recently. As a matter of fact it was over a year ago. Anyway I had made a comment to someone about a rude email I had received as a parent of a child involved in a sport from the director of that sport – basically the director started his email off with “Please read this email all the way through before you email me back with stupid questions that if you had read the entire email the answer to your question is there in black and white – and I have to reply and point out how stupid you are.” I really wish I would have kept the whole email because that was just the tip of the iceberg of this mans rant about how we as the parents are basically idiots who he has to guide through everything. I found it rude and completely unprofessional for someone who is in charge of a kids sports organization. I let someone else read it and their comment was something to the effect of “Well you don’t know how hard it is to deal with groups of people sometimes and sometimes when you are organizing something like that you do get tired of people asking the same things over and over.”
Two problems with the persons reply.
First, it’s laughable to think I don’t know how hard it is to deal with people – I answer 911 calls for a living. I deal with people all day long! And second I have organized many events and even at the height of my frustration I have never once told someone they were stupid. Why? Because it’s rude and it makes you look like an ass (see above). And while I may have wanted so badly at so many times to tell someone what I really think — if it’s mean I usually keep it to myself. Why? Cowboy Bob…. every afternoon Cowboy Bob signed off his cartoon show with the saying “If you can’t say anything nice, don’t say anything at all.” Even if the sports director did feel that way about the parents he shouldn’t have said it – at least not that way. And PS… as the head of the organization it’s your responsibility to answer questions – no matter how stupid you think they are – because that’s what you were elected to do.
We live in this world where people think it’s OK to say anything they want to say no matter how it may affect the person they are talking to. There is this new thought that if you preface your comment with the phrase “Not to be a ________ but,….” Fill in the blank with any negative you want: bitch, jerk, rude, crude, insensitive, pain in the ass. It’s like by saying “not to be a _____” you are giving yourself a free pass to be exactly what you are telling people you are not. It’s that word BUT that seems to make it OK. It doesn’t make it OK — in case you’re wondering.
So now at 330 am I’m still perplexed by this subject.
A few years back I wondered if I was “two-faced” or whatever you want to call it because I refuse to be mean to someone even if I don’t like them. I may avoid talking to them at length or avoid them all together but just because I don’t like them doesn’t mean I’m going out-of-the-way to be rude or mean to them. This whole scenario came about after my husband I came upon a group of friends we knew and started speaking to them. Two of the men I truly wanted to avoid because I really don’t have warm or fuzzy feelings for either of them. They are the kind of men who if I see them in the grocery store I run and hide in the tampon aisle because if you really want to avoid a man while shopping the tampon aisle is the place to go. But I sucked it up, smiled and spoke to each of them in a friendly tone, briefly, then excused myself from the conversation. I was really worried that my ability not to act like a reality TV star and get up in their face and tell them they are both jack asses and then maybe hurl a drink on them made me somehow a bad person. See how skewed our mentality has gotten?
And don’t even get me started at the “comments” section of news articles. Have you ever read these? They are spectacularly horrible. Do you think half of the people who spat their opinions and hate in those comments would make the same comments if they were face to face? The answer is NO! Do you think that 80’sBoYtoY would really walk up to HippyRebel764 and call her superficial and judgemental at the coffee shop? Probably not. And I’m sure that HippyRebel764 wouldn’t really point out to 80’sBoYtoY that she has wounded civic pride and that she’s shallow if they were face to face. But it’s OK to sit and ridicule each other while hiding behind a computer and commenting and opining on a news article that neither person is directly involved in. I often like to imagine 80’sBoYtoY and HippyRebel764 sitting next to each other on a bus unknowingly going back and forth at each other on a comment thread having no clue the person they are berating is right next to them.
I’m not sure why it bothers me. I guess I just get tired of people thinking it’s OK to say anything they want just because they think it. Yes, be yourself! Yes, share your opinions! Yes, say what you mean! BUT …. don’t do it at the expense of another person or their feelings. There are ways to be tactful and respectful and still say what you think you need to say. You don’t have to scream at someone or call them names or degrade them or throw a drink on them to get your point across. Or you could just hide in the tampon aisle and avoid the whole situation.
If you can’t say anything nice, don’t say anything at all.