by Nanya Konwea
”Nobody is asking you to live for another, it is about living for yourself in ways that do not hurt others.”
Selfishness is not living as you want to, but asking others to live as you want to. We see all levels of inconsideration in our everyday dealings with people. We see people who come through doors and do not hold it open for you, even when they can see your arms are full with stuff. We have siblings who blare the stereos so loudly, even when they know you are studying for an exam. People do not turn up for an appointment, and they don’t call to explain why… the list goes on.
We basically live in a society where the majority aren’t concerned with the welfare of others. We teach our sons to insist on their rights, and to them it means refusing a person who looks frail cut to stand in front of them, when they queue at the pharmacy. Let me add that they (our sons) are only there to buy a pack of condoms. We raise our daughters not to let anybody put them down, which to them is interpreted as letting loose a barrage of insults when someone mistakenly steps on their feet. Can an inconsiderate person be right? Oh sure, but that doesn’t make them any less inconsiderate, because it is all in the manner.
There is no real definition of inconsideration, because we might accuse someone of being inconsiderate when the actual fact is, we are the guilty ones. On another hand, when a couple of people accuse you of this behaviour, chances are you are really guilty and should totally review your attitude. I’m sure we can all agree that there might not be much we can do about the way people act towards us, but we can control how we deal with it. You have an option of speaking to them about it, giving back as bad as you get, or meeting rude behaviour with a smile and more kindness than they deserve- I personally like to be kind, it’s a fruit of the spirit.
In dealing with inconsiderate behaviour, we have to try to understand it. Sometimes people may act harshly without the intent to hurt us, but did they hurt us? Yes they did. Yet, if you have asked someone to stop a certain behaviour and they don’t seem to heed to your complaints, then you are dealing with an inconsiderate individual. When you have politely complained to someone about his/her attitude without change; you know it’s time for the ‘bad dog’ approach- give the person a taste of their own medicine. It depends on what the situation is, I’m not asking you to plot a revenge. I will illustrate with a personal example.
When you are speaking to someone, or telling them something funny or important; and this is especially when they aren’t looking at you because they are busy doing something while you are speaking, you expect an indication that they are listening. This could be in form of a nod, or grunt or just any signal. I noticed that whenever I spoke to my friend Favour, at times when she wasn’t looking at me, she’d just be mute; no grunt, no smile, nothing! When I spoke about her mannerism to her, she always replied ‘ but I can hear you nah!’. It happened a lot, so I thought ‘shebi your turn go come, I go do am to you too’.
Then, my chance came finally. One day, she was in my usual position (she was speaking while I was cooking) and I thought ‘aha, God don catch you today’. So, I kept quiet and expressionless through it all! Upset, she said ‘Nanya! I’m speaking to you’ and I replied 5 seconds later with a smirk ‘Babe, I can hear you but tell me, how did it feel when I acted like you weren’t even there? Bad abi? That’s how I feel when you do it to me’. Gbam! So, people that’s the ‘bad dog’ approach. This could only work sometimes because they have to decide to stop by themselves, and for themselves (Favour still does it, but only sometimes).
As the inconsiderate individual, you have a little work to do. If you mean to criticize a person, you do not have to slay or cause irreparable hurt while making your point. Before you start to exercise your rights when someone asks to cut into the queue ahead of you; realize she’s looking harried, holding a cranky baby and her toddler is tired. I know Lagos is a city of hustle and you hustled for your seat on the BRT, but one of the highest levels of inconsideration is watching a pregnant woman or an elderly person get bumped around while standing and you are sitting down, watching them struggle to maintain balance. Please be nice tomorrow, it doesn’t matter if another passenger calls you ‘ode‘(fool). People hardly say ‘please’ or ‘thank you’ to the office assistant (I mean, he’s doing his job), but you can make his job easier by those magic words.
Nobody is asking you to live for another, it is about living for yourself in ways that do not hurt others.
Nanya Konwea is a budding writer who has also taken a shot at radio presenting. When she is not busy studying to obtain a degree in Pharmacy at the University of Nigeria, she simply lets her creativity flow.
30 Days 30 Voices series is an opportunity for young Nigerians from across the world to share their stories and experiences – creating a meeting point where our common humanity is explored.
Op-ed pieces and contributions are the opinions of the writers only and do not represent the opinions of Y!/YNaija.