Stef (firecat) wrote,

On social interaction

Part of this is from a comment in leback's journal. says that everyone is socially retarded, and proceeds with a list of behavior rules that we all should follow. I agree with many of the behavior rules.

But he lost me when he wrote "Everyone is on the Short Bus of Social Interaction to some degree or another." It's one thing to say "I hold extremely high ideals for social behavior, and no one measures up to my ideals." It's another thing to say that everyone is retarded. The latter does not take responsibility for your own attitudes. Besides, it makes no sense.

Jorm's rules that I agree with:
1) When someone gives you a compliment, the correct response is "Thank you."
2) When you ask someone for advice, and they give it to you, the correct response is "Thank you."
3) When someone offers to buy you a drink, the correct response is "Thank you."
5) You do not always have to be right, even in your own field, even when you are.
6) Further, you do not always have to be right.
7) Few people wish to hear about your level 17 Paladin.
9) If you make plans with someone, and then must cancel, let them know.
10) If you decline every invitation from someone, they will eventually stop sending you invites.
11) Be aware that what you do impacts other people.
13) When in a conversation, listen to your friend instead of simply waiting for your turn to speak.
16) No one wants to be disliked. Everyone wants to make friends.
(I know a few exceptions to this, but I think it's true as a general rule.)
17) When you yell at a customer service representative, you are being an asshole.
20) Terse replies do not foster communication.

Jorm's rules and other statements I don't agree with:

4) When someone offers to buy you a drink, and you must decline, do so with grace and thanks.
I agree with this, but he goes on to say that you have to give an excuse. I don't think so—just plain "No thank you" is fine.

8) Don't make excuses for being a social retard. This just makes you look more socially retarded because it says, effectively, that you do not believe yourself to be bound by the polite rules of society.
There is a difference between a reason and an excuse. With reasons, you take responsibility for your actions; with excuses you do not. "I was drunk," "I have OCD," "I have low-grade Asperger's" - these can be used in either vein.
No one will tell you when you are doing it wrong, so it's better not to bring up a reason or excuse.

There is a difference between a reason and an excuse where apologies are concerned, but when and how to apologize is a lot more complicated than "it's better not to bring up a reason or excuse." Whether you bring up other facts about you is context-dependent. It's incorrect to interpret every such disclosure of such facts as communicating "I am not bound by the polite rules."

12) Everyone wants to be the center of attention. You do not have to be.
No, everyone does not want to be the center of attention. Some of us are just fine with having a little attention paid to us, and some of us don't ever like to be the center of attention.

14) If you are angry with someone, or they have hurt you, and they seem oblivious to this fact, you must tell them.
...Only if you want them to know you are angry. Sometimes it's not important that they know.

15) Don't be "that guy" who sits in a corner and doesn't talk to anybody. You know exactly what I'm talking about, too. Maybe you're at a party and you really only know one person there. Maybe you're in a bad mood. Whatever.
When you do this - sit in a corner - you exude a passive aggressive hostility. What you're saying is that you are waiting for someone else to come and talk to you - that you are too important to make the first social move. Well, guess what? You're not.

Speaking as a corner-sitter -- It's certainly true that a lot of people won't approach me if I sit in a corner, and maybe some of them will be thinking "that person thinks they're too important to make the first move." Others might be thinking "That person looks happy and comfortable," or "That person might not know anyone here," or any number of things. The only time I am responsible for managing the stories that other people make up about me is when I want something from those people that I'm not getting.

18) Be a good customer.
I certainly agree with this, but he goes on to say "Calculating an exact tip makes you an asshole." What the fuck? When you do tip math, you look like you are unwilling to give them a tip. Again with the making up stories about other people, only this one makes even less sense than the one about sitting in a corner. If you are calculating a tip, that means you're going to give a tip, because otherwise why calculate it? And if you're going to give a tip, under what twisted logic does that mean you don't want to give a tip?

I've never been a waiter though. If you're a waiter and you agree with him, let me know. It doesn't matter to me because I do the tip calculation in my head.

If you have a coffee shop or restaurant you are a regular at, drop a hundred bucks in the tip jar at Christmastime
I'm all for tipping well, but in my world, not everyone has a few hundred bucks lying around that they don't need.
Tags: ethics, etiquette for geeks, opinionated rants
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