I rushed in to the computer repair shop with my lap top. “How are you Scott?” I asked as I greeted the owner. He responded with a happy and engaging salutation. “What’s going on?” He asked as I anxiously said “I believe my computer has been raided, I’ve lost all my files!” Suddenly his demeanor changed. I felt as if I had been unexpectedly dropped into a raging ocean surrounded by sharks! I thought to myself, - don’t abandon me now?! Now is when I need that engaging personality! Now is when I need you to listen to me and tell me everything is going to be alright! Instead Scott took several steps back; not only did he create emotional distance; he created physical distance as well.
I found this exchange interesting. How many times we interact with people and wish to provide them with what they want. Then when the request is made, we suddenly realize we will be unable to fulfill their needs.
Scott had no idea I felt abandoned in my moment of anxiety and need. He just knew he had a hysterical woman in his shop and he really didn’t want to be the hero that saves her. He had the technology and the know how, but he wasn’t about to assume the emotional responsibility.
I pondered on one occasion when a neighbor very sweetly offered to wash my car. I was beyond grateful! I was so moved I decided to give him a tip. At the time $10 was a lot of money for me, but I gladly parted with the dollars. I noticed as I handed over the bill with great gratitude that it did not mean the same thing to him. Suddenly the beautiful gesture became cheapened by such a low amount. I was crushed! It was too late to take it back. He would have been happier with just a big fat thank you and maybe a hug.
Human interactions are complicated. We bring our very personal meanings to things yet, we forget that these things might not mean the same to others. Actually 99.9% of the time they don’t.
Scott did fix my computer and retrieved all my files. He was his warm self when I picked up my laptop. What is the lesson with Scott? Don’t freak out on him, he does not know how to handle it!
What is the lesson with the neighbor that washed my car? Thank him.
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