Social Lessons from Sassy Pants
Two tiny faux pas that have gotten under my skin lately:
UNLESS the HOST of the party has invited you to play music OR an OVERWHELMING majority of people at the party INSIST on you playing - DO NOT.
Don't sit in the middle of the room where people are talking or listening to music or dancing and play the guitar and sing. The party is not about you. People are there to converse and celebrate or what-have-you. They are NOT there to stroke your ego and listen to you "improv" etc. If you want people to sit and listen to you - find an open mic night. If you need to practice - do it at home. If you want people to tell you you're awesome call your mom - unless your mom is mean or dead - in which case call someone else to fluff you up. Your ego and talent are not the focus of the party.
If some of the people want to hear you play/sing and they genuinely DO want to listen to you - great! Go to some secluded room so the rest of the party can carry on with being interrupted or stifled by your playing and/or singing.
Obviously excluded are: house concerts and parties with the intention for a jam session.
(2) Facebook comments:
It is classic manners to keep your negative opinions to yourself unless directly asked for your opinion.
People do not need to hear your negative opinions all the time.
If someone is doing something awesome allow that post on FB to be filled with positivity. Deeply and truly - few people give a rip if you don't like whatever that person is doing. Keep your "wah wah wah" negativity to yourself.
Original post: I MADE SOUP!
Friend 1: Awesome! looks good!
Friend 2: YUM!
Friend 3: Fall is the perfect time for soup!
Friend 4: I hate soup.
Guess what Friend 4 - NO ONE asked for your opinion. No one cares. Unless the post is about what someone may possibly serve for a dinner at YOUR house or where you are the STAR guest - keep your negative comments to yourself! What a self-centered DOWNER you are being.
People like to share random things on FB - they are not asking for everyone's personal feelings about the subject, they are just sharing. NOW - sometimes people do ask for opinions/ take surveys. In that situation - YES - share your opinion, but not on every bloody post you don't like or disapprove of - you are killing the happiness!
If you don't like soup - who cares - you can still be supportive of the person who made the soup. Friend 4 could have said, "soup is so hard to make - good job." "Soup isn't my favorite - but yours looks so awesome I would think about changing my position on SOUP!" See how #1 is supportive and encouraging? See how #2 is honest but still supportive whereas the original Friend 4 comment is a total wet blanket.
This is not about pretending that you love everything or that everything is always sunny. We all have likes and dislikes, loves and hates. This is about making the world a more enjoyable place to live. By filling the world with positivity and supporting the things that people do - we build each other up - we fuel the fire of awesomeness. The better people feel about themselves and their lives, the more likely they are to (1) make positive, healthy choices and (2) pass on positivity and happiness to others thereby creating a chain of positivity. Simply by saying "I don't like soup" you change a positive environment to a negative one - for what? So you can voice your opinion? Why? Is sharing your opinion more important than supporting your friend? Let me answer this for you: It shouldn't be. You're being a selfish downer. Stop it. Commend your friend on the soup - no one is making you eat it.
Further - even if you ARE at dinner and someone made you soup - take a few sips - be as polite as possible. Imagine if a little kid was with you and said, "I hate soup!" Every adult would be aghast! "What a brat!" they would think. That is exactly how bratty and negative you sound.
If you are brimming with hatred of all things soup - make a funny rant on YOUR FB. Fill your FB with negativity if you like - just don't spill it into everyone else's happiness.
Negativity exception: If something is actually unjust or CLEARLY wrong - say something. I suggest a personal, private message of concern or inquiry. Think about what you want: Do you just want to be heard or do you really want someone to change his/ her behavior. A well-written personal message is going to be infinitely more effective than a public shaming. Tact never goes out of style.
It strikes me that our news outlets have drifted from actual reporting of news and toward lots of talking heads spouting opinions. I wonder how much this has affected those that listen to and watch those talking heads. It seems like people have gotten confused about the proper way to respond to people's posts. Maybe people think being negative is now how we engage... ? I don't know. Something to think about.
As my mother told me and many other mothers tell their children:
If you don't have something nice to say - don't say anything at all.