Just because we can doesn’t mean we should. (Part 2)

by teresalaynebennett

photo of guy on cell phone with woman beside him forced to listen – and not very happy about it

Appropriate behavior? NO!

Can, Should, &
Blah, Blah, Blah

After reading Part 1 of this can-and-should series, your mind’s probably racing. All kinds of examples of people NOT asking Should I? are popping into your head, aren’t they? Chief among them must be this one.

Just because we can swipe our finger and talk on our cell – regardless of where we are – doesn’t mean we should. I’m quite sure you’ve heard others rant about this but, apparently, some of us aren’t paying attention. Hence, the need for this post.

  • Maybe other diners don’t really want to hear our chewing-gum-for-the-mind conversation with Colleen.
  • Maybe people passing us on the street really won’t be impressed with our trying-to-sound-important business conversation, sprinkled with annoying corporate buzzwords. (That one’s pretty much guaranteed!)
  • Maybe other commuters just want a little peace and quiet at the end of an exhausting work day.

The should question
of these scenarios
is oh-so-easy:
“Will I annoy others
if I talk here?”

If the answer’s yes, then the appropriate behavior is to take yourself and your cell somewhere private and carry on your conversation there. Trust me, the other diners will not be annoyed that they don’t get to eavesdrop on your conversation. Quite the opposite. Like the other commuters and passersby, they will think more kindly of you.

Doing what you should instead of what you can ensures your fellow diners, fellow commuters, fellow workers, etc., will not send nasty looks, negative vibes, and sarcastic remarks your way. Pay attention: life is harsh enough. Wouldn’t a little less harshness be preferable to creating supplemental harshness? Yes, well, as you can tell, that’s what I think, too.

I’d planned to be done right about here, but Hubby insisted I pass on this unsavory gem from his recent experience. He witnessed an elderly woman who had not silenced her cell phone for A FUNERAL. Yes, a funeral. When her chirping phone went off, she ANSWERED IT FROM HER SEAT WHILE THE PRIEST WAS GIVING THE EULOGY AND KEPT ON TALKING – FROM HER SEAT – THROUGH THE EULOGY. I am not making this up. Neither is my husband. Usually a laid-back, live-and-let-live kind of guy, he was still frothing about it several hours later when he relayed the story to me.

If she had paid attention to where she was and asked herself Should I?, hubby would’ve had a lower BP and no dramatic story to tell. But more importantly, she could’ve spared herself the boatload of nasty vibes sent her way and the priest’s after-the-fact reprimand. As I’ll keep saying, 

doing what’s appropriate
greases the wheels
of ALL our relationships.

Next up is my third and final example of can-versus-should (not that I couldn’t give you HUNDREDS more, you understand). It’s the one that causes an astounding percentage of our population the most painful of problems. It’s also the one which could so easily be avoided by simply asking Should I? I’ve touched on it in an earlier blog post. It’s a prevalent problem that, more than almost any other, most definitely should be run through the filter of Should I? So please pay attention when, for one last time, I harp on just because we can doesn’t mean we should.

©2015, Teresa Bennett

red box with white text: "Do nothing without purpose." – Augustine

An ancient Christian’s way of saying Should I?