When you see someone do something you feel isn’t nice, or right, or decent, do you give that person feedback about their behavior?
One of my customers is very serious about safety and they actively encourage everyone to give feedback to someone who doesn’t follow the safety guidelines. They are very clear about the desirable behavior. Yet even in that environment it’s a big step to really address someone to ask them to change their behavior.
About a year ago I went out to a work-related dinner and one of the man there was very pushy and rude to both me and the waitress, who was about half my age. Several people noticed has was consistently asking me inappropriate questions and everyone, including myself noticed how he was treating the waitress even worse. Yet no one corrected him.
Fairly regularly you see someone throw their junk out onto the street. Either a fast food bag or box, or the remains of a cigarette for instance. Do you ever confront them and ask them why they do it, or ask them to pick it up and throw it in a bin?
I think most people react the same in these situations. Maybe out of fear. Sometimes fear of retaliation, but in a lot of cases probably just to avoid the potentially awkwardness that it will result in.
I always wonder “why” someone jumps a line, or doesn’t bother to throw their junk in a bin nearby. I find the why almost more interesting than the act itself. Maybe they have a very good reason. Someone might have just gotten back from the dentist and be in a lot of pain. Their partner might be very ill and they have to get home as quickly as possible to help them. With some creativity you can think of a lot of reasons why someone might be behaving inconsiderate, but we don’t know, because we don’t ask.
I think of myself as being pretty considering. I try to
treat people with the same respect that I hope that they will treat me with. I don’t litter my environment. I even regularly pick up someone else’s junk if it’s close to a bin and doesn’t look too gross. But I hardly ever give feedback to someone directly about their behavior if they are being rude or inconsiderate to other people, themselves, or our environment. Except in traffic sometimes…but that’s a completely different story…
I’m going to try to make a change and at least ask “why” more often. People might surprise me. And if not, then my question might surprise them enough to trigger something.