The last couple of days have been tough on the brain, heat notwithstanding. I’m having to grasp a lot of things that I’ve intentionally steered well clear of in the light of this being my daughter’s last week of Primary School, many of which are wrapped around the nature of change. I’ve also begun to react to my surroundings in a manner which is not what I’m used to: mostly, if there’s an issue or a problem with things I tend to act as I do with Twitter: keep a discreet distance and say nothing. What I’ve begun to understand and really grasp is that sometimes, they’re not my fights. Maybe it is the understanding that I won’t have a chance to make a difference, and that actually intervention will make things worse. That’s why today I kept quiet in the virtual world, but didn’t in the real one.
I spend a lot of time at my Gym. I’m beginning to get to know the staff who work there, who are lovely people, and who work hard I suspect for not the greatest pay on the planet. Today, in the restaurant/bar area, they were short staffed and instead of people trying to understand this, there was stupid. Lots and lots of stupid from people who should really know better, who weren’t listening to explanations that were patiently and politely given, and had decided that the enemy was the people who were doing their best to help, but simply couldn’t do it fast enough. I found myself thinking about the issues I’m seeing in social media over change in a computer game, and realised that actually, there’s a lot in common here. If all you want is to keep yourself happy? Sometimes, everything else just stops mattering, including the fact you are hurting real people with your condemnation.
I watched the mum who’s son’s birthday it was, the heavily pregnant woman, and others come in to moan and be generally unpleasant, without grasping the situation and the explanations. They just wanted their food, and didn’t really care about anything else, and not once did the staff complain. They were brilliant and professional and focused and I sat and watched all this in the same way that I watch Twitter arguments, wondering if the people concerned grasped just how selfish they were being. Then I went and told the senior waitress she was doing great work as I know that if that had been me, I’d appreciate the gesture. The fact she hugged me back spoke volumes. Then I went and spent 10 minutes with the duty manager telling her the other side of the story, because sometimes it isn’t just the people making a noise. There’s another side people don’t see, and seldom grasp, that isn’t just them ranting.
This does not condemn those with issues. They are not the villains in this piece, simply the antagonisers, the instigators. Whenever conflict occurs, it is up to both sides to try and reach a solution that works: some of the complainers did this, others didn’t. Many assume that because they pay a monthly fee, they should be provided with a decent level of service. This is undoubtedly true, but what that doesn’t take into consideration is that occasionally, stuff just goes wrong. Sometimes it isn’t just getting a refund or blaming the company for bad service. Occasionally, the fault is yours to take. What seems to be happening, more and more in this instant reaction World, is that fact is forgotten. It becomes just easier and simpler on both sides to blame anyone but yourself.
Then, the individual really can make the difference. You don’t wade into the argument, instead you support a side, help the people struggling to cope. With the benefit of a step back, things become a lot easier to rationalise. Often, it seems to me, what helps people more than anything else is looking at both sides and not simply one. yes, you may have a problem, but there are things at play apart from those that you can see. Elements are involved beyond those that are obviously apparent. If you can help, then do but if you’re making things worse? Step away. This is the thing I’ve always been bad at, and today I did think before wading in, long and hard. That says to me I’m getting better generally with confrontation. Needless to say, everyone I spoke to was nothing but grateful someone could see the good in a situation.
In that respect, this has been a Good Day.