by Niall Doherty

Note: No video accompanies this post, as it failed to upload twice via Westminster Library wifi, and I’ve got to run and catch a bus to Amsterdam. To compensate, here’s a picture of me looking macho in Brighton on Wednesday…

Carousel on Brighton Pier

And now back to our regularly scheduled programming…

A few weeks ago I met a friend for coffee in Cork. We were sitting having a great chat until I spotted a guy I kind of knew walking past the cafe. I shouted a hello to him, and he decided to come and join us for a minute. Except one minute quickly became ten, and this guy was quickly wearing out his welcome.

Now I’ve been in his position before, and I’ve had people make it clear that it was time for me to leave. Usually all it takes is strong eye contact, a warm smile, and the words, “Well, it was nice to see you.” With that, I get the message and excuse myself, not feeling any ill-will, but perhaps a little embarrassed that I hadn’t read the situation better and excused myself earlier.

But when the roles were reversed, I couldn’t bring myself to be that assertive. I was worried that the guy would take offense, so I let him continue to be an annoyance to me and my friend, and we didn’t get to continue the great chat we were having before he came along.

I could give you plenty more examples like this. I’ve been noticing such disconnects everywhere recently. I hold myself to one standard, and other people to something different altogether. I see certain behaviors as perfectly acceptable from other people, but I worry about offending if I behave that way myself.

Unexpectedly, my travel adventure has been helping me work on this. Since I’m regularly on the move nowadays, I don’t spend as much time online. This is forcing me to prioritize, often ruthlessly. I can no longer respond to every email without stressing myself out. I can’t read every blog I’m subscribed to. I can’t help as many friends who are having web design issues (paid work has to come first). I often have to give up the urge to explain myself, especially to those who come across disrespectful. I sometimes have to let bad shit happen.

I was worried about all these things for a while, concerned that I’d be disappointing and upsetting people. But then I realized a few things:

  • I don’t get pissed off when someone doesn’t respond to my email. I just let it go.
  • I don’t expect people to read every post I publish, or even read my blog at all.
  • I completely understand when a friend can’t help me out with something because they’re busy working on a paid project.
  • I don’t insist on explanations from others when I fail to understand where they’re coming from. I just try to accept them as they are.
  • I understand that sometimes I’ll be part of someone else’s “bad shit happening,” and I refuse to take it personally.

With all of the above in mind, I’ve decided to make a slight change with my unspoken commenting policy here at Disrupting the Rabblement. I was making it a point to respond to every comment, even if a response wasn’t required. I’m going to stop doing that. I’ll still read and appreciate every comment, but I’ll only respond to those that I feel warrant a response.

This may seem like a silly, insignificant change, but I actually struggled with the decision for a bit. I was worried that some of you fine folks would take offense and view me as careless and disrespectful. But then I realized that I often leave comments on other blogs and simply shrug it off when there’s no response. I just assume that the blogger was busy doing other things, and I move on with my life. No big deal.

Where are you disconnected?

Have you noticed anything like this in your life? What behavior do you find acceptable from others, but not from yourself, and why do you think this is? Why the double standard?

Let me know your thoughts in the comments. I may or may not respond 😉

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