A tale of two interactions, comparison of people

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Gungnir's picture
Gungnir
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A tale of two interactions, comparison of people

Ok so here is a tale of two personal interactions I've had over the past couple of days, and since I was a constant, it demonstrates perhaps some of the challenges we face while building community.

Interaction #1

When we were having our yard sale last week, there was this guy who came and bought a bunch of stuff. Well when we went out to the grocery store on Monday, he caught us and told us about his friend who's car was a complete junker and since we'd mentioned that we were going to donate the car anyway, could his friend have it, we explained that the car was going to be collected on Friday, and if his friend wanted it to talk to us before then.

So Friday comes around our old Cavalier goes off to Purple Hearts of America, then at 5:00pm we get a knock at the door, it's this guy and his buddy asking about the car (which is not in the driveway, nor to be seen) well we explain that hey we waited for him or someone to come talk to us about the car, but since no one did, it went off to Charity. So the guy starts getting in my face complaining that we told him to come back on Friday when it was scheduled for pickup. Like it's my fault for not giving someone he knows something for free, So after surviving the aneurysm that I felt rapidly developing, I apologized and explained they should have come earlier (like what was the guy thinking, we had told him it was scheduled for pickup at 3:00 Friday) since I wasn't. about to produce a Chevy Cavalier from my butt.

Interaction #2

So yesterday I'm out gettting fresh tires put on the truck before the long haul. Since it was a nice day I was sitting in the shade watching the world go buy, when this elderly woman uses the soda machine and sits next to me. Anyway I'm looking at my truck and how they're putting the tires on the rims etc. etc. when she asks me if that's my truck, we then have a short conversation, about the truck, me relocating to Alaska and being retired (both literally on the truck and figuratively ). What my plans were in Alaska, etc. and she told me of this road trip she took with her kids to Hudson Bay just decided one day to bundle the kids in the car and off they drove, with the destination set, but no firm idea as to how to get there (sounds like a great adventure too).

Anyway since they both came on consecutive days, they were interesting contrasts.

Interaction #1 the guy was upset he didn't get something for nothing, wound up leaving me feel irritated drained and renewed my faith in human nature

Interaction #2 was a chance meeting where I had an interesting conversation, with someone who surprised me by her interest in sharing a moment in time and left me feeling good.

Just goes to show that community and interactions with people can be very delicate processes, sometimes you meet people who just are there to get something and get upset if they can't have whatever it is, othertimes, they're just spending time and enjoying the company.

I suspect in Interaction #1 I'd need to know the guy pretty well before I could see him being a member of a community, or maybe we just have totally incompatible personalities. The Woman in Interaction #2 I could see being a member of a community really fast. Interesting to think that from those few moments I made those judgments with absolutely no concern for their skills, work ethics, abilities or interests. although if you can drive to Hudson Bay with just a destination in mind and get there in one piece without running out of gas, or getting totally turned around and screwed up it sure counts for something.

Thoughts comments, or whatever.

ao's picture
ao
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Re: A tale of two interactions, comparison of people

In my profession, I interact with new people every day and have a chance to interact with people who are in a difficult stage in their life.  It's been and continues to be, an amazing learning opportunity.  I've learned all kinds of lessons and some that seem appropos in your situation are these.  Never take it personally.  As hard as it is (and this is hard for me), don't take it personally.  Number #1 guy obviously has his issues and tried to make his issues your issues.  He also fears looking bad to his friend who he promised a car to and that fear gets translated into anger that gets vented on you.  I think I just would have directed him to the charity that you donated the car to.  

Another lesson that comes to mind is never let someone else turn their "craziness" into my craziness.  They'll often try to draw you into their drama and the older I get, the more successful I am in not letting that happen (but I still fail sometimes and it does).  I try to be the eye of the storm, the calm in the middle of the hurricane and let them swirl around me.  You're a warrior and the first inclination of a warrior is to fight back against an injustice, real or perceived (I'm of the same inclination).  But the best thing to do is let the guy rant and rave and quietly listen, staying calm, and controlling your emotions (always easier said than done).  

As a friend used to say, "The Universe always says yes".  When we see the world and the people in it as bad, it is.  When we see the world and the people in it as good place, it is.  Obviously, there's the yin and the yang, the good and the bad in the world, and in each and every one of us.  The key is not letting the fear based emotions associated with the bad contaminate the love, joy, and gratitude associated with the good.  Not an easy job for any of us.

I think it was the Celestine Prophecy that I read years ago that talked about energy, human energy.  Number #1 drained your energy, number #2 recharged you.  For me, cities (more a Detroit than a San Francisco, if you know what I mean) tend sap my energy, nature  restores my energy.  I try to interact with positive people and with nature to restore my energy to enable me to deal with the negative that inevitably is part of the spiritual challenge of life.

We're always going to encounter folks like #1 and #2 and ultimately, addressing those human interactions, for me, becomes more of a spiritual than a social issue.  But we can't go there here ... ;-)

  

rocketgirl1's picture
rocketgirl1
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Re: A tale of two interactions, comparison of people

Nice story Gungnir, I guess it takes all kinds to make a world.

anarkst's picture
anarkst
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Re: A tale of two interactions, comparison of people

Gungnir writes:

Just goes to show that community and interactions with people can be very delicate processes, sometimes you meet people who just are there to get something and get upset if they can't have whatever it is, othertimes, they're just spending time and enjoying the company.

The most interesting thing about interacting with other people is watching your 'self.'  Observe what causes different emotions to arise and trace them back to their source.  You'll be surprised at what you find.

SagerXX's picture
SagerXX
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Re: A tale of two interactions, comparison of people

 Hm.  

Person #1:  "What have you got for ME?"...  Person #2:  What can I share with YOU?"

Maximize the Twos.  Minimize the Ones.  Lather, rinse, repeat...

Viva -- Sager

Cloudfire's picture
Cloudfire
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Re: A tale of two interactions, comparison of people

 

Hi, Gungnir;

What can I say, but a  favorite line from a favorite movie, Smoke Signals:  "I think it's a fine example of the oral tradition."  Two great stories, so well told that they need no interpretation . . . Well done, Gungnir . . .

C1oudfire

 

Brad's picture
Brad
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Re: A tale of two interactions, comparison of people
anarkst wrote:

The most interesting thing about interacting with other people is watching your 'self.'  Observe what causes different emotions to arise and trace them back to their source.  You'll be surprised at what you find.

Very wise words Anarkst. I know whenever I've been able to step "outside" and look back on myself with compassion and with humor, there's always a deep sense of serenity....like an inner door breaking free and swinging wide open. Freedom!

Brad

Gungnir's picture
Gungnir
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Posts: 643
Re: A tale of two interactions, comparison of people

Ok after having some time to reflect on this a little and some of the comments.

My initial response was like Sager I need more #2 type people than #1, Anarkst raises an interesting point though, in all our interactions there is a degree of projection and reflection of one's self onto and from the other participant. 

With that in hand, I thought about what I was experiencing at the time, in #1 I was kind of strongly "what does this douchebag want now?" as he interrupted preparations, whereas in #2 I was relaxed and chilling, since I had nothing else to do at that time.

So my conclusion, I need to be more #2 than #1, and then maybe more of my interactions will be of type 2 rather than type 1.

So with that I'm off to finish final Prep, and head to Alaska. We'll keep you updated as we go, and networks allow.

 

 

Dogs_In_A_Pile's picture
Dogs_In_A_Pile
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Re: A tale of two interactions, comparison of people

Gungnir -

Consider adding this to your cache of community building processes:

From "The Last Lecture of Randy Pausch" - (google him, it will likely change your life)

"Don't pay attention to what they say, pay attention to what they do."

 

Cloudfire's picture
Cloudfire
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Posts: 1813
Re: A tale of two interactions, comparison of people
Dogs_In_A_Pile wrote:

"Don't pay attention to what they say, pay attention to what they do."

 

Now that's a real gem . . . "Ye shall know them by their fruits" . . .

 

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