A simple skill for making the best of unfortunate situations
Recently I was on a commuting train that was already crowded and getting more so with each stop. We were all sharing our personal space, being flexible with our boundaries, breathing other people's breath, feeling like we were being buried alive, etc. There seemed to be a general malaise settling over the train as we resigned ourselves to being human sardines in a swaying tin, until the doors opened once again and she entered.
“Well hello there everyone!” She said with mock enthusiasm or maybe it was real enthusiasm, sometimes it's so hard to tell.
It was hilarious and I giggled on the inside as I clutched my overhead strap and tried not to fall into the woman next to me holding a rusty bike. What if every time we came across a potentially annoying situation instead of innerwardley harrumphing or outwardly complaining we greeted the scene as if it was a slightly unwelcome guest, but a guest none the less that we must do our best to be polite to and make feel welcome.
It might look something like this:
“Top of the morning to you DMV waiting room full of cranky people!”
“Hello traffic jam! How are you this fine Monday morning? Let's spend some quality time together and make me really late!”
“Sweet dreams sexless marriage!”
“Pleased to meet you wasted hours between my kids soccer games. Can I get you an orange slice?”
“Greetings panicky feeling I get right before every first date. So pleased to see (and smell) you again!”
Summing up the situation and greeting it with a grin (even a forced one) keeps you from going into instant grump mode and is a really good habit to get into. It can also help you recognize unhelpful patterns you might be slipping into and help you keep things in a lighter perspective.
Work on your delivery and timing and you might even get some laughs and make some friends. Your stuck in an elevator anyway right?