I was talking with a young man of my acquaintance about the fact that I have a horrible suspicion that people at work think that I am an idiot.
“Because I smile all the time and am pleasant to everyone I think people think I am an idiot” says I.
“I feel your pain brother,” says he, “It is the same with me at my work…except I don’t smile and am not pleasant.”
Well…at least he was honest.
Anyhoo…What is wrong with being smiley and pleasant? I have found that the general rule of thumb seems to be that “Mature adults” are expected to be “serious”. We are supposed to use circumspection and dish out our smiles with discernment, like there is some sort of smile rationing in place. If you show interest in everyone then you lack the adult skills to know who is worthy of your attention and who deserves your pleasantries.
All rather selfish really.
My basic premise in life is that I am grateful to anyone who is willing to give me a little of their time to share a bit of their lives with me. I don’t expect people to like me or feel I am doing someone a great favour by deigning to take an interest in them. I have a reasonably important position at work and I have been genuinely astonished occasionally to realise that some people seem to think it a favour that I talk to them. The reality is I just love chatting with people and never think about what their “status” is. If I smile and you smile in return, then you are alright with me. Share a laugh, or a serious moment with someone and you are part of a very special connection. If it is the head of the company or the cleaner, if the conversation is genuine then it is the best sort of day to day contact. How many people spend their time artificially trying to make connections with the “right people” and lose the chance to just enjoy a moment with another human being? That repellent term “networking” is something I despise. You “connect to get” and the whole principal is all about what you make out of the encounter. Bleck!!!!
You may not agree with everyone or find someone else’s interests to your specific taste, but if someone trusts you enough to share a spontaneous personal moment, happy or sad, then you can never be so arrogant as to believe you deserved to be in that moment.
I thank all those who think me worth sharing a moment with and often wonder that they bother. Perhaps they find my ideas contrary to their’s or my interests dull. But I can at least smile and be pleasant and if they choose to enrich my day then I think myself damned lucky.
So, “Smile on!”, I say,
and if people think you an idiot,
well “More fool they”.