Respect and Familiarity

Every person wants to be respected, and every person wants to be liked – generalities for sake of explanation.

To be respected, a person must command respect. A person needs to exhibit a personal sphere, a boundary no other person is permitted to cross. To exhibit is to exert; to gain respect a person must demonstrate an ability to influence circumstances and surroundings, including other people.

But, nobody like the person who pushes on others. To be liked by a person is to establish connection with a person. Connection is a two-way experience, each into each other.

Contradiction? But what else is life?


1).   In high school I knew a girl 3 years older than I, the older sister of a close friend. Among peers she was known as a Bitch; people knew not to step on her toes, and they listened to what she said. My friends and I were often at her house, visiting her brother. And she was bossy towards us, demanding; she was a harsh critic and an innovator of insults. She kept us in line: we respected her. And as months passed she began to joke with us. She’d buy us beer. She got me a job life-guarding at the beach she worked at. We would drink beer together, on the rainy beach days, and then drive to her college after work to drink more beer. She taught me how to kill digger wasps with a wiffle-ball bat. She was a Major Bitch to many, and a Damn Good Friend to most.

2).   Our warehouse at work shares a parking-lot with several other small, commercial warehouses. I work for an organic lawn care company – all organic, which is why I felt it would be okay to dump excess liquid fertilizer in the parking-lot. The parking-lot has its own storm-drain. My boss was there, and had no complaints. But the boss of another warehouse did. The fertilizer was more sludge than liquid: unexpected. The rain, instead of washing the sludge away, turned the parking-lot into a mud pit. I was alone at work when the boss from across the parking-lot came in, demanding to know what all of this muck was, and why it was in his warehouse. His voice was raised, asking what I was going to do about this, wanting to know who was going to clean his truck bay. I spent an hour hosing down the parking-lot. The aggrieved warehouse-owner came back out. He explained his van drivers had tracked it into his truck bay. I apologized. He made a joke about Frank Sinatra even singing off-key sometimes. He said he wasn’t mad, that he liked our company and would power-wash by his warehouse tomorrow. He complained about the landlord not having put in a second storm-drain, which would have obviated the mess, and many messes prior to. He was an aggrieved, demanding individual, who became a commiserating acquaintance.

Summation: It is sometimes best to first show the fist, but be sure to later show the palm.



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