When did it become commonplace for us to treat other humans with such disheartened indifference?

The way that people talk to other people is just…repulsive.

The other day, I went through the Tim Hortons drive thru. When I was waiting to turn onto the road, someone else pulled up beside me and started to yell at the guy behind me. Total strangers, one who maybe had a distracted driving moment and cut the other guy off. Maybe he thought he had time, or he thought that he could make it without cutting anyone off. I have no clue what happened there, because I didn’t see. What I did see was the passenger in the other car start screaming insults and calling the other guy horrible things.

And this happens all the time. People are not kind and respectful to strangers. They are out right hostile, always assuming the absolute worse of everyone around them. They assume that the offensive thing that someone else did is just to spite them. It couldn’t possibly be a mistake or a misunderstanding.

It’s kind of scary, to see the interactions of strangers in regular settings. When people aren’t ignoring one another in favour of “social media”, they are standoffish and unwelcoming. They don’t want positive human interaction, unless it’s a “like” of an Instagram picture.

I am the least confrontational person I know. I mostly lack confrontational skills because they are overridden with “respect”. I try to show my respect for other humans by not detonating in their faces. I’m thoughtful like that. I’d rather smile at a stranger than destroy their day over a likely misunderstanding.

It is my goal to teach my kids that every human deserves respect and empathy, that there is never an okay time to get into a screaming match with a stranger, complete with insults and name calling. Changes are, that person knows that they made a mistake, but they aren’t likely to apologize for it if they aren’t given an opportunity.

I wonder what would happen if we ALL did that? If we ALL gave one another a chance to apologize before we air our grievances? I wonder what would happen if it were commonplace for kind words to be exchanged, instead of hostile ones?

Remember when manners and morals held society in higher standards? I don’t. I’m only 25 years old, and I don’t remember those days. I’ve read about them, heard about them, seen them depicted on the TV screen…but I’ve never really seen it in action.


About J.C. Hannigan

25. Mother. Wife. Lover of words. Weaver of stories. My first book, Collide, is available in e-book for Amazon Kindle and Kobo.
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2 Responses to When?

  1. Paul Davis says:

    I think you’re being optimistic. The people willing to blast someone for the smallest of offenses rarely acknowledge they’ve done something wrong. If they cut someone off, that person should have slowed down. This attitude happened when we stopped respecting life, when we felt everything should be provided instead of worked for. Unless a lot changes, this is what will be America’s downfall. But keep being an optimist, and teach those kids well.

  2. Matt Burke says:

    When nothing else makes sense, namely other’s actions and behaviors, just be observant and use those obsevances to sharpen your writing style and your wit. Nice reflection piece! (When?)

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