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A time for tolerance

Courtesy of MCT Campus

In a world of constant hustle and bustle, it can be hard to slow down and really appreciate the people around you. Throughout my time in high school, I’ve observed a lot of great social interactions where people are accepting and even appreciative of others. Unfortunately, I’ve also observed a lot of people reacting to others with blatant annoyance.

Courtesy of MCT Campus
Courtesy of MCT Campus

The signs are clear. Rude, choppy sentences, blatant disregard for “annoying” people’s feelings, and, of course, a well-timed eye roll thrown in for good measure are all classic trademarks of this.

I get it. Sometimes you’re in a hurry, or you’re in a bad mood, or you just don’t feel like listening to someone’s problems. That’s fine, but these circumstances don’t give you a green light to treat other people like they’re worth less than the dirt on the bottom of your shoes.

Here’s a news flash for you. You will meet people in this world that you do not like. There will also be people you meet that won’t like you. Shocker, I’m sure.

But here’s another shocker: people can’t help being who they are.

Again, this doesn’t give anyone the right to be a rampaging jerk, but what I’m trying to say is that maybe the person you consider unnecessarily rude because they’re loud or gruff or snippy or oblivious isn’t trying to annoy you on purpose; they’re just being themselves.

The same goes for the “rude” person that doesn’t immediately strike up a conversation with you in the hallway- maybe they’re just shy or nervous. There’s no need to immediately conclude that they’re too high and mighty to grace you with their presence.

The point I’m trying to make is that people are just people. They’re not purposely trying to annoy you or anger you (well, maybe they are, but how will you ever know for sure unless you give them a chance?).

I’ve seen so many kind, genuinely caring people treated like crap just because they’re talkative and loud and a little obnoxious. The same goes for some of my fantastic friends who are honest, direct, and maybe a little rough around the edges, because they’re often perceived as rude or callous.

This needs to change. You don’t need to be best friends with a person that annoys you, but you shouldn’t reject them as a human being because they talk a few decibels louder than you or will tell you the truth about a matter without cushioning the blow. Just be cordial, and try to be accepting.

In his article “The Power of Acceptance,” Steve Taylor said, “An attitude of acceptance can neutralize unpleasant and irritating experiences – and even sometimes transform them into pleasant ones.” Of course, he was talking about accepting the unfortunate reality of his tinnitus at the time, but the point still stands.

I’m not asking you to be the Dalai Lama. You don’t even have to smile at someone you consider “annoying” in the hallway (though it’d be nice if you would). All I’m asking is for you to think before you roll your eyes or make a snide comment to someone about something that doesn’t matter. I can guarantee you that person’s feelings of acceptance and security are worth boatloads more than your need to show a pinprick of disdain for them just for being who they are. The same goes for matters of sexuality, race, physical appearance, mental abilities, and a variety of other “classifying factors.” Is it really that hard to give someone else a chance, or perhaps the benefit of the doubt?

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Holly Baldacci, Author

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