When Did It Become Okay To Manipulate Each Other?
As I’m boarding an EasyJet flight from Milan to London on a rainy Monday afternoon, an older Italian gentlemen in a suit blatantly cuts in front of me.
He may have thought he was being subtle as he sidled up next to me while walking up the jet-bridge but I knew exactly what he was doing.
By the time we got to the entrance of the plane, he slid his shoulder in front of me and made the pass.
“F#*@” these rude Italians” I initially thought. Then I quickly realized that this sort of behavior happens everywhere.
Did it really matter that he cut? Of course not, I got the seat I wanted anyway. Then why was I so upset?
I felt manipulated, conned, and cheated out of something that was rightfully mine.
But what made me even more upset was that I knew as it was happening that I wasn’t going to do anything about it! I wanted to say something to him, but I thought that it would have been ruder of me to say something than to just let him cut.
And I would bet that 9.9 out of 10 people would have acted as I did!
I’m not sure when this sort of behavior became the cultural norm, but it is more socially acceptable to subtly manipulate each other than it is to call each other out on rude, manipulative behavior.
What should we do about this? Should we allow it to continue or should we take a stand?
From a confidence perspective, allowing others to manipulate you will slowly erode your confidence, sense of personal power and in the long run, make you a negative, unhappy and bitter person. But taking a stand is not easy to do. You run the risk of finding yourself in an uncomfortable confrontational situation.
To be honest, I said nothing because I didn’t want to take that risk. Fear got the best of me and that sucks!
In hindsight, I know exactly what I should have done. I should have simply said “Excuse me sir, I’m not sure if you were aware, but you just took my spot in line.”
I would bet that 9 out of 10 times, this gentleman would apologize, relinquish his spot and think twice about cutting next time.
This seems so obvious now, why didn’t I think of it in the moment? Simple, when it happened, I got angry and emotional, and it hindered my ability to think rationally. The only two options in my mind were to yell at this guy and publicly berate him…
“Hey buddy, what the hell are you doing, you think you can just cut in front of me and I’m not gonna notice?!”
Or do nothing and privately berate myself.
So next time I know better…. stay calm and take the time to actually think.