It is surely a very sad and sorry way of living, but many people do this- some knowingly and many many others are totally oblivious that they are doing it!! In fact, this is the reason why sensational, negative news have such extensive viewership. I will write another article about it at another time, make another video on that… but for today, we will look at how best to handle pesky, annoying people and sticky situations!
So this is how things began... I was picking up a few fresh vegetables at our local grocery store and I bumped into this person who I knew from an old client site. I had hung out with her couple of times after work and now for a long time I had lost all touch with her. What was particularly interesting about this meeting was the ‘fake’ interest and pleasantries that we both were showing!!
Does that sound familiar?? I suppose all of us who lead ‘normal’ lives come across people in stores, malls or even sometimes in the hallway- that we would rather avoid. But good social habits and sometimes cultural customs and norms- require us to be pleasant to them and greet- even when all our being would rather ‘run in the opposite direction’!!
So, we meet and are chatting- asking those usual pesky questions of “Oh, how are you doing??”… “Great! What about you??”… now, the fakeness of this situation started to bother me, but other than being outright rude and walking away, there was not much I could do about it.
This got me thinking- hmm… how can I make the best of this situation?? Well… why don’t I observe my fakeness?? So, I started observing her, myself and our interaction with a calm awareness of an ‘observer’. Saying all those ‘correct’ things, hearing her response and so on. As we moved on and I got to the checkout lines where I am quite familiar with several of the staff (I have been shopping there for many years now), it was very amazing to feel the genuineness of our (the checkout staff and my) interaction.
I actually felt like a movie or stage actor- I was playing a part of this nice pleasant person, greeting that old colleague and saying all those nice things- but somewhere it was almost like I was saying the drama-lines with conviction (like a good actor) but at the same time, I was consciously observing myself as the ‘do-er’ of that action- or should I say ‘my acting’. And this conscious way of observing and maintaining a calm, open presence helped me immensely because instead of resenting an unpleasant meeting, it felt great to connect with those with whom I genuinely connected!
We all come across scenarios where we meet someone who we would rather have not bumped into. Instead of feeling upset and then ‘trying’ to be nice to them on their face- “play the role of a pleasant person’- say and do the actions appropriate for the situation with total presence and conviction, but at the same time maintain your conscious awareness about yourself as the ‘do-er’ who is observing this ‘play being acted out’… this way you will not feel upset by closing yourself and harboring negativity. Instead because of conscious awareness and fun acting you will not only make the best of the situation but also maintain your openness to all people and interactions.
It can be a work colleague who often snoops in your work, so they can use that information to back-bite you and many other such situations where we do not expect it to be a pleasant interaction, but at the same time, somewhere we are required to be a part of it! Any time we dread an interaction because we feel it is going to be unpleasant, in all those situations, maintaining a conscious awareness with distancing can help immensely!!
Conscious observation and distancing with whatever required acting, or should I say conscious and active ‘role-playing’; allows us to conduct a situation in a healthy manner instead of “negative-fakeness’ which tends to build resentment and seething anger within us.