Don’t tell me what to do!

There is little that irritates more than being told what to do.  This is especially so if you are on the receiving end of a pointed directive from someone you imagine has no entitlement to throw the javelin in the first place.  While frank reply about what you intend to do in any event is both reasonable and proper, be warned that anything else by way of rejoinder is doomed. In an atmosphere of bubbling emotions, this is particularly so if your purpose is to denounce the affront based on anything approaching mere logic.  More likely than not your comeback will be lost on the proponent. Spelling out the reasons for your objection is destined to defeat and is therefore best avoided as it will only compound the dilemma.

Though guided by a sense of entitlement people plainly take their liberties when instructing others how to conduct their lives.  It is first of all the height of presumption.  Equally importantly it is a device which overlooks the capacity of others to fulfill their own ambitions.  As well-deserved as it may be to punish the unwanted intruder, any rebuttal probably succeeds only to wither the already soured relationship.  Assuming that the offender is by virtue of his or her disrespectful latitude lacking in the appreciation of refined social behaviour (and I’ll wager it is not difficult to accumulate other examples of the offence), any pretence to correct the folly is redundant. What is more certainly at risk is wounding one’s own psyche.  In these uniquely binary compositions there is inevitably one party who, for lack of a better word, is more mature than the other.  Maturity embraces such seemingly tedious qualities as patience and understanding, virtues which I suspect are valued by most people at least theoretically but which are regrettably not shared by all.

The division between proper and improper conduct is frequently heightened by surrounding grating circumstances, events which upon subsequent, cooler reflection usually disclose something approaching an excuse for the initial discreditable conduct.  It is but one more reminder that people remarkably have some understandable motive for their otherwise annoying behaviour. Getting to this point of comprehension is of course not effortless and normally requires an inordinate dose of intellectualism aided by supporting factual material, all of which requires more of those precious commodities, time and patience.

In the result the prudent course of conduct is to attempt to appreciate the position of the other person.  If this, because of one’s general humanity and attendant weakness, is not possible then at least try to avoid cementing the difficulty by piling words of admonishment or derision upon the other.  This will only increase the load on the other end when it comes time to try to unravel the disappointment and hostility.

Even if one is reluctant to engage is so-called namby-pamby discussion of improper conduct, it is wise to keep in mind that in the scheme of things it is highly unlikely that anything you say will matter.  Look at it this way, when did the opinions of others ever make any particular difference to you?  So why would you assume yours matter to them?  Forget it!  Just put it aside and move along!