Jackson Brown, Jr.: The best preparation for tomorrow is doing your best today.
Yesterday, we attended a lovely brunch for our friend Jeanette. She officially retired on Friday and the movers are coming this morning to deliver her belongings to her new Washington home. Her entire family is already up there, waiting for her. On Wednesday, Jeanette will be getting in the car, audio book in the CD deck, and making her way up the coast in three days.
Now let’s get personal. During brunch, I visited the rest room. I know, shocker, right?! It’s a lovely, big bathroom, and the stall doors are floor-to-ceiling height. Needless to say, I closed the door behind me and pushed in the little (and flimsy) lock on the door. Just as I sat down, the door opened! The woman was mortified and, of course, apologized as she was backing out. “No worries,” I muttered, wondering what I looked like from her point of view.
Standing near the sinks as she was waiting for a stall to become free, she said “I hope I didn’t ruin your day!” How clever! She took the embarrassment and made it her own, and wanted me to not dwell on this uncomfortable situation for longer than I had to.
I suppose I could have made a big deal about it when I left the bathroom, but first, the lady made a negative into a positive. And, more importantly, the lunch wasn’t about me. I wasn’t about to go back to the table and complain about the rude woman in the bathroom. We were just being served our entrees! Besides, she might have been sitting at the next table.
My point of the story is this: if you find yourself in an uncomfortable situation, make it about yourself and not the other person. They’re likely dealing with their own embarrassment, so why make it worse? Maybe the correct response to most confusing, difficult situations is to just say “I hope I didn’t ruin your day!”