Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Character flaws: It's not you, it's totally me, Part 3

I'm a scaredy cat.

Not, I'm 'afraid of heights/afraid of getting hit by a car while crossing the street/afraid of germs' kind of scaredy cat. I'm scared of people.

Okay, so I'm not scared of people on the whole. I'm scared of random people. The disheveled (likely homeless) person on the street shuffling down the sidewalk, the person shouting angrily (either at someone, or just into the air), the weird person who gets on the elevator with me and talks to be about seemingly random things. I'm afraid of those people.

Really, I think what I'm afraid of is unpredictability. What is that person going to say or do? Are they going to lash out violently? Are they going to make a sexist or racist comment? I may also be afraid of myself and whether or not I'd be able to respond appropriately, or in a way in which I can hold my head up afterward.

Here's the other thing, I'm not sure what I should recommend to myself to do to try to over come this flaw. Part of what is scary about unpredictability is that it could lead to bodily harm. For example, if two people are having an argument on a street, a concerned passer-by might try to step in and see if they can help diffuse the situation, but it might also get them stabbed with a previously concealed knife. I'm not saying it will happen, just that it could.

I suppose a good start is recognition of my flaw. I think part of tackling it may also be linked back to my earlier post about being a Darcy-pants. I don't think that I need to necessary strike up conversations with homeless people, or weird people in elevators, but I can at least try to be polite (Sorry, I don't have any change) rather than completely mute.

Any other suggestions?

Maybe ever’body in the whole damn world is scared of each other.
~John Steinbeck, Of Mice and Men


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