Those Unwritten, Annoying, Much-Despised Rules of Society
When you cheated in school
Now let's be honest
You are now a college graduate, successful, popular and rich. But your conscience keeps nagging at you about that time you and "Joey Miller," cheated on a "Mrs. Hardnutt's" math exam that was so hard, your young minds couldn't absorb it.
So the rule here is, find the "Mrs. Hardnutt," and where she lives. Show-up in a nice three-piece suit that cost you over $1500.00, a nice bouquet of roses, and then just tell "Mrs. Hardnutt," "Ma'am, I, along with my buddy, "Joey Miller," cheated on your math final exam about 44 years ago." Now doesn't that feel good? Your conscience is clear. Probably this "Mrs. Hardnutt," won't know you from the tree growing over her house way out in rural Georgia.
But hey, you followed the "rule."
Are YOU in any of these areas?
You are out on the town
with two other so-called "good" friends. But something is strange. You are never asked where the three of you will eat, see a movie, or which mall to do your shopping.
You aren't a troublemaker at heart, so you "go with the flow," and everyone is happy. But you.
You are miserable from the time you meet your two friends until you return home. What on earth can you do to keep your friendship, but make the other two friends see you as an important part of the group?
A Good "Rule-of-Thumb" is do not engage the other two friends with your feelings "on your sleeve." Wait until you are calm and have your thoughts organized. Over a quiet dinner, just tell them that you want to "share" some feelings with them. If they are any female at all, they will listen to you.
Then gently and with respect, tell them that "you" count. And for the last six weeks you have been left-out of all decisions when it came to theaters, cafe's and places to hang-out. Furthermore, you always thought these two girls were very wise and mature and would understand your position.
Odds are, they will. But be prepared for some Oscar-winning acting by these two girlfriends you hang-with. If they are controlling, they will deny what you just said and that you were being immature.
If this happens, smile and politely excuse yourself and leave without any bad feelings. And this time, do not pay the check.
There are many other areas where the annoying, unwritten rules apply
and just a few samples of these "area's of dread," for me are:
- When I am standing in-line to pay for my meal, and some arrogant, self-serving patron walks in-front of me to get out of the restaurant, I am supposed to follow the social rule and keep my mouth shut. But sometimes I just say, "what am I, a mannequin?" And you should see the ugly looks I get.
- Why do I have to tip a waitress MORE than five-bucks even if she has not provided good service? Some manners experts such as the late Amy Vanderbilt used to advise to just pay a reasonable amount and if the waitress huffs or rolls her eyes, politely explain that the food was cold, the steak was raw and you saw her sneeze into your soup. It's time for us who have been silent for so long to take back our respect.
- What is the rule when you have waited for over an hour and a half in a men's clothing store while a customer is yakking it up with the store owner, a college buddy of the customer's? Should I speak-up? Answer: No. In my case, an hour and half is way too long--for any store. And I can read them, the upper-class, loafer-wearing without socks, sunglasses on backwards on their necks talking about a frat party reunion. Talking up will not help. Leave. "Sir, I am almost done with "Todd," I'll be right with you," is what the puny punk store owner will say, but he doesn't mean it, so leave. Do not be a prisoner of your conscience.
- If you are bitten by a pet-owner's dog in public, should you protest or just keep your mouth shut? Protest. Tell the pet owner just how painful that bite felt. And that they should expect a bill from your hospital and doctor because "Snappy," the poodle wasn't on a leash.
- If you are in a public place, such as a bank or lawyer's office, and this customer has a two-year-old who doesn't know how to behave keeps yelping and screaming at his mother as loud as a Marine drill sergeant, what do you do? The accepted social rule is to ignore the child. But when the child's over-used lungs are interfering with your lawyer and you, then you must speak-up. Now if the mother and child are the lawyer's wife and son, you bear it. Most times, the person you are talking to will laugh and say, "that 'monster,' is my son, and we cannot do a thing with them." You smile and graciously exit the office. When on the outside, pause to thank God that the child or wife isn't yours.
And the Best One yet is . . .
- If you are like most of us and "put on hold," when you call the company who sold you the "Act-A-Matic" food processor with twenty various ways to shred slaw to ask how to read the owner's manual that is only in Chinese . . .you get angry and frustrated. But don't. Allow me to explain.
- Big companies' employees are told in-secret to keep an angry customer on-hold for a long time, for when they are forced to wait, they might hang-up. So what if they lose you as a customer, so what? The processor doesn't work anyway.
- So "Debbie," the customer rep says, "pardon me. I need to put you on-hold," and you allow it. You should have said one word: WHY? On second thought, "Debbie," wouldn't know what "why" meant, so you wait. And wait. Another company rep even picks up the phone and asks the number one foolish question of all-time, "you still holding?" Look at the blinking light, "Mr. Summer Intern," who only needed some party cash and went to work a few weeks at the food processor company.
- Finally, you should never wait past 45 minutes on the "Debbies," of the world or friends who call you and then say, "gonna put ya' on hold. Be cool. Back in a sec," and they don't. Hang the phone up. Or hit the "END" button on your cell phone.
- As for the food processor company, if you like, take the item back to the store and get your money back.
- Then try to call the company back and ask for their "Customer Relations Department," and tell them . . .
They are less one customer. You. If they ask why and they will, just say that you cannot afford a Chinese translator.
I promise you that if you do any of these things, you will feel more like a man or woman and not a number or object who can be run-around or run-over.
When you are left out
This is a tricky place, but can be managed
By just having a sit-down talk with your wife, girlfriend, or gang of buddies you like to hang-out with at some sports grille and drink beer and lie about your sexual conquests in high school.
But in your case, you are never asked to tell any of your stories. You are never asked if you want another beer? Hey, many times, the guy next to you will say, "care to duck down, I'm trying to tell "Joe" beside you a funny tale about me, a hot girl and a dog named "Bob."
These are clear-cut signs that you are left-out and I will wager that it's not fun.
So here is the rule: Just approach your friends, wife or girlfriend in a civil, friendly manner and present them the problem in a reasonable way. Many times you will be an apology, but be prepared to be laughed-at a little by your buddies and the leader of your gang of buddies might rib you by saying, "awww, pal, we all thought you were acting like a mannequin on purpose," while your wife or girlfriend might giggle and reply, "sorry, honey. The next time my girlfriend and I talk about our periods, panties, and ovaries, we will include you."
You might have learned to stand-up for yourself, but man, you will be red-faced with embarrassment.