The Way You Make Me Feel

By Anita Garner

We’re not supposed to judge, but of course we judge.  Sometimes it’s to set standards for ourselves, even if we don’t declare it that way.  Sometimes it’s simply based on a feeling we get around certain people.

Aren’t we always forming judgments?  Don’t we have to, in order to establish values?  And if we stick to ours, sometimes we can’t stick with a relationship. When I leave you, if I feel slightly soiled because of the things you said or the way you treated people or just the way you are in the world,  that begins to feel like a reflection on me and my choices.

Some people work hard to make us feel good about ourselves because it’s good for business.  I have no quarrel with that.  Professional niceness goes a long way.  I’m always going to prefer to sit in the section of the coffee shop where the server smiles and seems glad to see me.

A few years back, a close friend had stopped driving so I took him on his errands. He insisted on doing business in person with people who knew his name.  If they weren’t working when we stopped by, he asked about their schedules and said he’d return when they were there.  If they were busy with someone else, he’d wait.

He wanted only to be with people who made him feel good, who greeted him, remembered him.  We drove around so he could hand them his bank deposit, pay his bills in person, wait in the line at Safeway for his favorite checker.

The people who make me feel good about myself don’t have to do it with flattery. That only works some of the time.  If it always worked, we’d never learn any other approach to interactions. If that worked, every stranger with a sales pitch would be our new best friend.

I like to listen to how people treat others.  Some people do it so well they create behavior that actually leaves behind calm and positive feelings.  It’s aspirational on my part. I want to be more like that more often, so I need to be around it.

When I leave wondering why I’ve spent time with you, it diminishes my opinion of my own values and eventually I’ll need to eject myself from the relationship.  I can’t always get away from the source of the discomfort, but I can limit my exposure by raising an emotional barrier.

Maybe it’s not just you.  Maybe it’s not just me.   But it’s definitely me with you that has to change.





12 thoughts on “The Way You Make Me Feel”

  1. My folks always made it clear to me that living by the Golden Rule was something everyone needs to do, you can’t expect to be treated nice if your not nice to begin with.

  2. Exactly, Bruce. And then I’m taking it one step farther and limiting the time I’m around (when possible) people who don’t seem to be aware of the Golden Rule.

  3. Lately I’ve become disenchanted with a couple of nice people who are unfailingly pleasant but seem insincere. Blanket kindness is like a posed smile. It’s nice but not warm.

    How’s that for being judgmental?

  4. I’ll take your blanket kindness people and trade you for a few I’ve met with a show-it-to-everybody mean streak.

  5. I’ll see your two phony smiles and one mean S.O.B. and raise you one A-Hole

    I saw a meme on facebook that fits here :
    The world is not full of assholes, but they are strategically placed so you run into one each day.
    Thank God it’s Friday…..

  6. Amen. We have discussed this very subject. In Berea, KY the only place to buy groceries is Walmart (which had run all other places out of town). I have to go there when I am visiting my daughter. There is one lovely, sweet, friendly, helpful woman who, because of circumstances, has to work there as a checker. I will wait in a long line to have her check me out. I actually look forward to seeing her very gentle face and smiling face.

  7. Yes, I’m with you. I’ll take kindness like that wherever I can find it and like my friend, with whom I used to do errands, I’m more and more willing to go out of my way to seek it out. It’s worth it.

  8. The friend you drove – I guarantee that he was a favorite of each employee at every place he went. It’s those customers or guests that I look forward to seeing. If I’m having a bad day or a rough shift – seeing that one cuatomer/guest can turn it all around.

    Kindness goes so much further than anyone can ever imagine….the ripple effect is so much larger than one would ever guess …

    I try to remind myself – what type of service do I expect from others – and I try to provide that service to those I interact with. And even when I’m not at work – I try to treat everyone I come into with respect and kindness – because we never know the battles that are being fought with those we interact with. Instead of helping someone give up hope – i would rather give someone hope

  9. Rowan, it’s lovely to see you here. Since you’re the only person I’ve met with this lovely name, I’m here to say you do practice what you preach. You made my recent visit to your town so much nicer in so many ways. I hope kindness returns to you in many ways every day.

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