Thursday, July 23, 2015

The Plight of the Crowd Pleaser

I’m happy to say I just got back from a vacation that was covered in a sense of calm. The only aggravation came up while trying to decide what to do at a restaurant with an hour plus wait. I put our name on the list. Then, we found a high top with enough stools to accommodate our group in the bar. We had a choice to sit in the bar area (not at the bar itself) and contend with the crowd to order food and drinks on our own OR wait for the table. We decided on the bar area, turned in our table alert buzzer and tried to wrangle the bartender. After failing to get attention, we decided to get back on the list, grab another buzzer and order appetizers at the bar while we waited. My sister went to order where she was accosted by a group of drunk people that included a woman who wanted to pet her hair to see what it felt like. Yes, I’m serious. No bueno.

As soon as she got back from ordering, the table was ready. The discussion turned into who was cashing out and who was heading to the table and of course touched on the inevitable, “we should have just waited for the table.” Everyone was scrambling and a little miffed.

In the midst of it, I recognized any and all aggravation related to the table debacle was based on everyone trying to please everyone else. No one would speak up for what they thought was the best course of action so no one was invested. When things went south, mental finger pointing began. We all kind of lingered there, biting our tongues until we were caught between the two options and still having to wrangle a bartender to cash out and have our food transferred to an unknown table.  I was most affected because I took our name off the list originally. Once I acknowledged it though, we all kinda blew it off and felt the frustration melt away over a bowl of crab dip and a basket of pita bread.

One the one hand, the circumstances reminded me that we are all responsible for the energy we bring with us. If I remained mired in frustration, I’d have killed everyone else’s experience. The situation also reminded me of a former blow up (about 6 weeks ago) I had with Ash over the same thing. Family was visiting and everyone wanted to start exploring different things. I made a decision and headed off in one direction and, Ash said, “I guess we’re not going to the beach club to eat.” Who knew that’s what he wanted to do?  No one…because he didn’t speak up until we passed it and even then, only to me. My frustration came out as “If you want to do something, say it.” My tone was admittedly sharp. That annoyed him and then it became a “tone” argument, which (while controlled) made the family feel the kids of parents who are having an argument in public. I realized later that my anger/frustration came from that little crowd pleaser inside of me. That realization helped me do the work that prevented any such arguments while on vacation last week.

Part of that work was in realizing I will never please everyone and I don’t have to. The important thing was to unlearn all of the lessons that taught me to put everyone else first and focus on the lessons that tell me to speak up. I certainly can’t control everything but I can control my reactions. 
The best way to control my reactions is to take a step back, realize when a decision isn’t a big deal and brush off minor inconveniences. Life’s just too short to be a crowd pleaser. It’s great to try to make others happy but it’s absolutely ok to leave it to people to pipe up and pursue their own pleasure.  

Are you a crowd pleaser? How has it affected your life/sense of well being?

1 comment:

Mama said...

So true!,,,,