Be Considerate of Others’ Feelings

Posted: November 11, 2013 in Communication
Tags: , , , ,

Jeff HairIn early August I wrote a blog post about the fact that I cut all my hair off and the consequent reactions (mostly unwanted and all unsolicited) from others. That was over two months ago and I have to admit that I’m still surprised at the frequency of times weekly when someone criticizes me for it. At one point yesterday I was just glad to be going home where I knew that neither my wife nor my dog would say anything about it the rest of the day.

Tonight I posted the following on Facebook:

“Wonder why so many people think it’s OK to tell me how much they don’t like my hair all cut off. Last time I checked, that was my call to make. I really don’t recall these folks seeking my advice on how they cut their hair. Give it a rest, folks. I was tired of messing with it. I like it super short. I’m not undergoing chemo. I’m not sick or dying or undergoing treatments. I worked hard at intentionally losing 25 pounds to get to my current weight. Sheesh…”

A friend and colleague subsequently sent me a private message that read, “‘Sticks and stones will break your bones but words will never hurt you’ was the biggest lie I’ve ever been told.” I agree.

I’m a big boy and I can handle a little criticism about how I look. I can understand the concern of those who suddenly see me with no hair and thinner than I’ve been in a couple of years. I don’t begrudge genuine queries of concern to make sure I’m OK. The point of this post, though, is to note how utterly unnecessary, inconsiderate and useless the “I don’t like your hair” conversations are.

It’s time for some folks to re-learn a lesson most of us learned around kindergarten age – “If you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything” – or just live by the Golden Rule and we’ll all be fine.

Please take a moment to consider how your words might affect others. Consider the possibility that it may well be better to remain silent than to voice every opinion you have, especially if those opinions are openly critical of others’ benign choices about how they appear. There are enough life and physical changes coming to pass for folks my age without adding to the list having to deal with criticism from others about simple choices related to how we look.

Comments
  1. khaganh says:

    Jeff, I can relate to this so easily. I think one of the funniest is the back handed compliment. “Oh, your hair looks so much better this way!” Did it look that bad yesterday? Must have. I changed my hair about a year ago and received so many compliments that I knew my previous hairstyle had not been attractive, but it was my hair! One good thing about growing older is that you realize you don’t care as much about what others think and you should make yourself happy. Yes, things can still hurt my feelings, but then I remember that I am doing whatever it is because I want to!

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