‘Excuse me, you have to re-make this coffee. It’s undrinkable.’
The waitress apologised profusely and whisked the cup away before asking precisely what the issue was so she could avoid making the same mistake the second time. After the rude man gave her some haughty tips he rolled his eyes and went back to his conversation. His dining companion could barely string a sentence together, he was clearly so shocked and embarrassed by the awful exchange he’d just witnessed.
Mr Smaggle and I were gobsmacked. My heart sank right down inside my shoes as I watched the flustered, red-faced barista carefully remake the offending coffee. We sat in silence as the waitress brought over a fresh cup. As she turned to walk away, the man sipped his coffee, made an unnecessarily loud ‘Blergh!!!’ sound before the coffee had even touched his lips and said ‘No, no. This is awful, I can’t believe you would serve this and call it coffee. Just take it away.’
The cafe was totally silent as she took the cup away. Finally, the awful man left without paying. When we went to pay we made a huge fuss about how great the coffee was (and it was actually great, the man was legit being a total knob about it), how unpleasant that man was and how it wasn’t their fault at all. The staff gratefully accepted our feedback but the damage was done. Their poor hearts would be heavy for at least the rest of the day and they’d probably need a stiff drink after work to wash the nastiness out their system.
I can safely say I’ve never behaved like that. I’ve certainly been served plenty of undrinkable coffee but I just don’t drink it and don’t make a fuss. It’s not worth ruining someone’s day over.
This doesn’t mean I’m perfect. Far from it. I’m sarcastic and impatient which can result in some pretty dick-like behaviour. I try to keep it under control but sometimes against my better judgement, I can get a bit snarky, even with people I love. I hate being kept waiting and incompetence is my kryptonite. You can be as inefficient as you like in your own home, I don’t give a shit but if I reminded you four times to book a table at a restaurant and you didn’t do it, you’ll hear about it.
If you suspect that sometimes you’re a bit of a dick, here are a few things you can do to fix that.
1. Admit that you’re a dick
It’s not easy but you can do it. I did it just then when I admitted I’m sarcastic and impatient. We all like to think we’re perfect but the truth is, we’re all really selfish. All of us. Even the most saintly among us. Once you admit you’re a bit of jerk and pinpoint how that presents itself, you’re well on your way to being able to correct that behaviour. My dick-ness comes out in snarky comments. For you, it might be passive aggressiveness, actual aggressiveness or simply being inconsiderate. You can’t correct a bad habit unless you admit you have that bad habit.
2. Spend one whole day actively being considerate towards other people
Spend a full day concentrating on being considerate in everything you do. Washing up your lunch plate straight away so no one else has to do it, letting a car merge into your lane even though according to the law you don’t have to, opening doors for people, texting someone you love to see how they’re doing, letting your partner pick what you have for dinner tonight. Just do it for one day and it will be eye opening how easy it is to be considerate of other people.
3. Stop playing the victim
It’s easy to fall into the trap of blaming your own bad behaviour on the incident that ‘made’ you behave that way. You would never have yelled at your partner if they just put their damn washing in the basket. You would never have beeped your horn and yelled at that guy on the road if he just drove more responsibly. You would never have written that awful email about your colleague if he just showed up to work and actually DID his work. Unfortunately, you have no control over the way other people behave. Ever. The only thing you have control over is your reaction to the way other people behave and if you constantly find yourself blaming other people for your own behaviour, the first thing to do is monitor your own reactions.
4. Give your manner a critique
I’m the not-so-proud owner of a hardcore resting bitch face. There’s not a whole lot I can do about it and most of the time it’s not a problem because I work for myself from home and no one sees me except Mr Smaggle and he’s used to it. I’m very aware of my Resting Bitch Face when I’m out in public at events or parties and try to make myself look as approachable and friendly as possible. I already have a strong snarky streak in me and if that pops out at the same time as my Resting Bitch Face, it can get ugly very quickly. Keep your face relaxed and open, keep your arms unfolded and concentrate on keeping your tone approachable and welcoming.
Most of my ‘Oh my god was I just a total dick???’ moments come from when I speak without thinking. If you’re one of these people too, the best thing to do is just pause and listen. Listen to the conversation, listen to the person you’re with and consider your response before you speak. It sounds simple enough but it’s a lifesaver if you’re the type of person who tends to speak and regret it. Like me.