Fill your cup and sit with me for a few minutes . . .
Yespassing. You’ve had it happen to you. I suspect it’s been done often enough that you smarted over it. Remember the last time you put your finger in the wrong place on a rosebush? It stung, and the sting lingered.
It’s an invisible sign everyone else seems to see. It means…
Please–feel free to stand here with me, or sit down at my table. I’ll do my best to manage some polite small talk, and I’ll be your friend for these moments. I’ll act interested in your world. But I know this is temporary; I know I’m not who you’re looking for. As soon as they show up, you’ll gather up your phone and coffee and rush off with them. You’ll toss a “S’cuse me, but—” over your shoulder if you think of it. It likely won’t dawn on you that you’ve needlessly and without thought wounded another soul. So, yes. By all means, pass on by.
Some quiet, meditative music might work here. I’m pointing no fingers, friend. I’ve YESPASSED myself without thinking about it. All I’m saying is that if you tend to love others’ attention – and who doesn’t? – think about some basic rules that will curtail so much YESPASSING.
- Maintain eye contact with and keep your attention on the one you’re with. When you do this, you signal The Rude And The Feckless, as well as the one to with whom you’re sharing a little oasis of your lives: I’m busy being and building a friend.
- Allow no one to successfully intrude on your conversation or manipulate you. Even bratty eight-year-olds manage to have access to a cell phone that will take messages. When you stiff-eye a thoughtless intruder, you’re telling them that the one you’re already with has worth and value to you, and your time together is important.
- Care about the one you chose to be with first. Let them feel their worth. You never know when you approach a friend standing or sitting alone what they’ve been experiencing. God may be needing you to come alongside them, just as others have done for you. An interruption may cause that moment to be forever lost.
- Leave your phone in your pocket. If you were expecting an emergency call at any time, you’d have already told your companion – right? Besides, it’s on vibrate and you can feel the difference between a call and a text. The pinnacle of rudeness is to interrupt the experience of sharing time with the living person next to you to read and chuckle at a meme someone from Racine, Wisconsin sent you. No one here is that important; just undisciplined and a poor planner – or wanting attention. When this life is over nobody will lift an eyebrow at how many ‘Likes’ you got.
YESPASSING is a thing. The proliferance of social media has lifted this rudeness almost to an art, this thing of trying to be a butterfly and insert oneself into every possible nearby conversation.
You may consider me an advocate for adding “NO” to the imaginary sign. I’d be pleased if you’d join me. And, my friend? Let’s be gentle with each other when we catch ourselves doing or allowing YESPASSING. Apologies and timely restoral of interrupted visits and conversations are always in order.
NO YESPASSING. This will take us some time. No time like now to get started.
© D. Dean Boone, May 2017