Twice in the past week someone has turned to me and said, “that’s so nice of you,” in such a tone as if they were genuinely surprised. I, as a reaction, am genuinely surprised.
When did it become the norm for people to “feel bad” asking a friend for assistance? I, personally, know I do not ask anyone for anything, just about ever. (I’ve been making exceptions for Stefan, because he makes it rather apparent that he actually likes doing things for me). I rarely even call on people to talk out my issues (which could be leading to my downfall). But really, when I hear, “I feel bad, you’re …,” I think, Really? You feel bad for my doing something nice for you? Sure, it leads to their feeling grateful and appreciative, but would it be so bad if we were, as a society, decent to one another? Okay, fine, I explained myself as, “good to the people I know, but terrible to the people I don’t,” but I never said I agreed with the logistics of it. I also noted to Christina today that I probably flip her off on my way to school, unknowingly, since I don’t have everyone’s cars committed to memory just yet. And that’s happened to me a lot–I’ll be ranting my head off about a driver in a car near me, and then I’ll realize it’s the same make/model as someone I know, and that I’d be terribly embarrassed if it actually was them.
Why we do this, I haven’t the slightest, but it’s difficult to have hope when even the smallest acts of kindness are met with such shock. No wonder Obama-haters call him a communist and/or socialist–they don’t understand that they’re not wholly bad political philosophies, and they certainly wouldn’t know how to live and act under such a socially-demanding regime.
If I could make myself more cognizant of the times I am a douchebag to people I’ve never met, and actively seek to change that behavior, I would (and I will). I’m often just so busy with other cognitive resources, that I never allocate the space or the energy to mull it over. However, when someone needs a ride, or a friend to walk them somewhere, or a book returned to the library you live a block away from (I’m not specifically referring to you, Stefan, it’s just a good example), offer to be that person there for them. Not because you expect something in return, or you want to feel like you’ve done your mitzvah for the year/month/week/day, but because the person you’re helping will be grateful and will feel like someone cares. Everyone could use a little more of that.