REMEMBER TO CUT PEOPLE SOME SLACK ‚ô• ‚ô• ‚ô•
cut people slack
by Gretchen Rubin, author
Recently I‚Äôve read two memoirs written by people I know. Whenever I do this, I‚Äôm reminded of the fact that people‚Äôs lives are always far more complicated than they seem from the outside. And I vow, once again, to cut people slack. You jut never know what other people are going through.
The ‚Äúfundamental attribution error‚ÄĚ is a psychological phenomenon in which we tend to view other people‚Äôs actions as reflections of their characters, and to overlook the power of the situation to influence their actions: I assume that the guy in the drugstore is a jerk who is trying to cut in line, when in fact, he‚Äôs a considerate guy who‚Äôs rushing to get home with the medicine for his sick, miserable girlfriend.
With ourselves, however, we acknowledge the pressures of the situation. So when other people‚Äôs cell phones ring during a movie, it‚Äôs because they‚Äôre inconsiderate boors. If my cell phone rings during a movie, it‚Äôs because I‚Äôm a conscientious mother who needs to be able to get a call from a babysitter.
I‚Äôm trying to remember not to judge people, especially on the first or second encounter. Their actions may well not reveal their enduring character, but instead, reflect some situation they find themselves in.
I thought of this the other day. I went to pick up the Big Girl after school, but for some reason, pick-up wasn‚Äôt in the usual place. I ran into a friend I hadn‚Äôt seen in a while, who has a child in the same grade, and instead of saying a friendly hello, I grabbed her arm and blurted out,‚ÄĚ‚ÄėWhere‚Äôs pick-up today?‚ÄĚ And after she told me, I rushed off, barely remembering to yell ‚ÄúThanks!‚ÄĚ over my shoulder.
Once I‚Äôd found the Big Girl, I realized how rude I‚Äôd been. I sent my friend an email (like yesterday, another apology; I‚Äôm trying to behave myself better so I apologize less). I explained that the Big Girl PANICS if the person picking her up is even five minutes late. I was afraid that if I didn‚Äôt get to her soon, she‚Äôd be a wreck.
It‚Äôs one of Life‚Äôs True Rules, and one of my catchphrases for the year: cut people some slack.