Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Bitten by an "It's-All-about-Me" Bug

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Living in a huge city like New York, we can't avoid getting in contact with lots of people every day. Walking through Times Square is often challenging, and so is getting into a crowded train during a rush hour. It only seems logical that being in a crowd on a regular basis would teach us, New Yorkers, good manners; however, people often do things that are disrespectful towards others as though till this day they had lived alone in the woods or on a deserted island where they were bitten by an "It's-All-about-Me" bug, a dangerous insect whose venom makes one believe that the world is spinning around him or her.

Have you ever met a waiter who hands a girl whose boyfriend just went to the bathroom his phone number on the back of another customer's receipt? Do you know a person who starts a "nice weather" conversation with someone who's on the phone ignoring a possibility that they maybe calling abroad? And of course, you have seen a "big mouth" in a restaurant, subway car or a bus, who is talking to a friend as though addressing fifty people at once. All of those and many more annoying and disrespectful New Yorkers are walking around thinking that there's nothing wrong with being the center of the world, all because of the bug that bit them.

You can't blame them for getting sick; however, if you realize that you are one of those unhappy individuals whom the bug's venom made selfish and arrogant, there are a few things you can try to cure yourself from this contagious but not life-threatening disease:

1. Imagine yourself in the other person's shoes. If a combination of organ music produced by your empty stomach and the smell of a delicious wrap consumed next to you in a bus doesn't make you feel like the day went well, don't do it to someone else.

2. Learn a few useful words like "I'm sorry," "excuse me" and "please." They can make any awkward situation better because they show that you maybe arrogant, but you're doing your best not to be disrespectful and you mean well.

3. Occupy yourself with a magazine or a music player. Not only will you learn something new or enjoy your favorite song (at a reasonable volume, please), you will also give people around you a silent break.

4. Study body language. If a person has headphones and/or sunglasses on, he or she doesn't want to be bothered. I'm sorry, but there's no other reason to wear sunglasses in a subway car when the train's going into a tunnel.

5. If someone is rude to you, ignore it. Say "excuse me" and move away from them. People will often provoke you to start a fight. Don't give them a chance to spoil your day. You will probably never see them again in your life, so don't waste your energy on cursing them out.

And remember that if you are mean to people, you share the bug's venom with them, and on the contrary, when you acknowledge that there's another human being who wants peace and a moment of silence while eating at a cafe or taking a subway home, you release some of your negativity and become healthier and happier .

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