This year calls for a little decorum.
There used to be this thing called decorum.
Briefly defined, decorum is about saying the right thing to the right person, at the right time, under the right circumstances.
Another word for decorum is tact.
As 2020 drags on, all this seems to be falling by the wayside. People are getting more callous and inconsiderate in their deeds, but also their words. At their worst, they’re playing a constant game of gotcha. All some people care about anymore is owning liberals.
We have a president who jokes about the pandemic being a “good thing,” because he won’t have to shake hands with his “disgusting” supporters anymore. Yeah, that was a real thing he said.
And then we have the personal growth gurus, the ones who assure us that all of our struggles are internal.
Decorum is often about what you don’t say. Sometimes the most considerate thing you can do is just shut your pie hole.
(Warning: sarcasm ahead.)
“This pandemic was a blessing in disguise.”
Yep. This is a thing people say. Honestly, it’s great if you were able to forge five different income streams from the same circumstances that caused the rest of us an endless deluge of hardship and trauma. You’re a real go-getter, and I bet your mom is super proud of you.
I have an idea, though. Let’s switch places. I’ll go live in your spacious townhouse. You can move in with my family, who’s been quarantined inside a tiny house for six months. We have a toddler who’s in the middle of potty-training. She hasn’t seen another child in real life since March. You’ll love it here. Everyone gets along perfectly.
Not interested? Okay. The offer stands.
“Money isn’t everything.”
This is the best way to let everyone know that you’re very well off, and pretty insulated from the global economic meltdown.
I’m not sure why you would want everyone to know about your personal finances. But in case you want to be even more blunt, tell us how much money you make off your side hustles.
Justify it by declaring your intent to be inspirational.
This is all very appropriate.
“Look on the bright side.”
Wow. That’s presumptuous. Are you sure there is one? Maybe for some people, there’s not.
It’s not always your job to cheer people up. Sometimes you have to sit back and let them be sad for a little while.
Sometimes you have to point out what’s bad.
After a certain point, obsessing over the silver lining in everyone’s life becomes an exercise in selfish vanity. You’re not trying to help anyone. You’re trying to shield yourself from their sorrow and despair.
Maybe instead of telling someone to look on the bright side, we could offer something else. We could ask, “What keeps you going?” Now that sounds honest, even profound. If you really want to cheer someone up, tell them what they mean to you.
“I thought you’d be happy for me.”
Oh. You had great news about something that matters mainly to you. And you wanted everyone you know to make you feel even better about it than you already do. You wanted to bask in some glory.
Try reading the room.
Glory is in short supply this year.
It takes a little energy to congratulate someone who bursts into your life, or your media feed, and declares how amazing they are — even if they claim the purpose of this is to inspire others.
More and more, we’re just not up for it. What would really inspire us is a story about what you’re dealing with right now. People want to know that they’re not alone in their struggles. They want to hear about small victories and little triumphs over daily hardships.
They do not want to see you on a yacht.
“As Marcus Aurelius reminds us…”
You gotta be careful with this one.
Before invoking the stoics to make someone feel better right now, it helps to point out the historical context. Marcus Aurelius governed during the Antonine Plague, which killed millions of people — including his brother. So you might want to mention that first.
Otherwise, you could get punched in the face.
People are tired of hearing that they have more control over their perceptions than they do their reality.
It’s not that comforting to hear the 17th time around.
“Do you want to know what makes Jeff Bezos so successful?”
It could be the thousands of low wage workers who run themselves silly through his sweaty warehouses all day.
Maybe it’s all the groceries and gadgets and masks we bought this year because we’re scared to leave our homes.
Oh, it’s his morning routine?
I was close.
The words “grit,” “resilience,” or “mindset.”
Just don’t go there.
Anyone who doesn’t have grit by now is long gone.
But if you’re curious, try saying all three of those words to a mom or a single parent around 5 pm on a weekday afternoon.
I really look forward to hearing about your experience.
For bonus points, stand outside an emergency room and use these words in a pep talk to all the nurses and sick people. Make sure you pull your mask down, so they can hear you loud and clear.
“Here are 7 psychological superpowers…”
That’s great, but I’m more interested in actual superpowers these days. A fortress of solitude would also be nice, preferably one with extra rooms for a home office, a gym, a play area…
“We’re all in this together.”
You obviously time-traveled here from March. We don’t use that phrase anymore. Especially don’t say this to anyone who makes less than $250,000 a year. They’ll suffocate you in your sleep.
“Biden’s going to lose because he’s not saying everything I want.”
Look, nobody really wants Biden as president.
But it’s sort of like choosing to spend a weekend with the lame uncle who doesn’t leer at you in a bikini and steal money from your purse every time you’re not looking.
Think of it that way.
“Here’s some dating advice…”
Thanks so much. All the quarantined boys and girls will be sure to use this in three years, when they finally feel safe going to bars and showing their entire face to strangers again.
“Stop doom scrolling on your phone.”
But it’s so much fun.
Besides, the doom isn’t in my phone.
It’s kind of everywhere.
There’s a purpose to my doom scrolling.
It reminds me that there’s a bunch of very good reasons I’m currently bunkered up in my home.
“Everything’s going to be okay.”
You obviously aren’t doom scrolling enough.
“Everyone would wear a mask if you just asked nicely.”
Sorry, I ran out of manners three months ago. Maybe back then I would’ve had the patience to convince Karen and Ted, once again, that it would be super great if they could listen to scientists and stop treating every single little thing as an affront to their personal liberty.
“This is a marvelous time in human history.”
It’s pretty great if you have a lot of money, and no responsibilities or sense of social obligation. You can occasionally vent your guilt over how well you’re doing compared to everyone else, then go back to your day, which consists of doing whatever you want. Personally, I’m going to hold off on calling anything “marvelous” for a few more months.
“I know how you can stay productive in times of crisis.”
So do I. Here’s the secret:
“Learn to be kind, like Steve Jobs.”
Steve Jobs was kind…
of an asshole.
He spent years denying his own daughter, so he could avoid paying child support. He verbally abused his employees.
He invented a device that we sorta hate now.
When you tell people in 2020 to be kind like Steve Jobs, or any other towering figure from the olden times, you’re telling them to pursue their own wealth and reputation at the expense of everyone else’s.
It’s 2020, the year of the beast. Maybe we should stop idolizing the people who got us into this mess.
The phrase, “new normal.”
Ah. So we’re finally here. What a relief. I was starting to get worried that last month was the new normal.
Source : Medium