Sunday, January 30, 2011

Put in a spot…

I wonder why we enjoy putting people on the spot, especially on “sensitive subjects” – Probably not sensitive to general public at large, but definitely sensitive to individuals

Most times it’s probably completely unintentional. Sometimes, it’s just for a bit of fun. Sometimes, it’s totally planned and staged. Sometimes, it’s almost as a last resort of hope.

Let me give you a few recent examples

Example 1
A happy go lucky couple is always asked about when they plan to have babies. I wonder how can anyone ask such personal questions in public? Whatever be their personal circumstances and choices, is it really right to broach this subject amidst random strangers? And expect them to give you a befitting response? Someone told me that the best answer to this question is “Tonight”. Apparently, it almost always concludes the topic!!!

Example 2
A single smart and really successful friend is always asked unpleasant queries on future wedding plans in the most inappropriate times and amidst the most random set of strangers. Sitting in the hot-seat, in the middle of a dozen people, does one really expect to receive an answer? Does one really expect to have any positive impact or influence? Does one honestly believe that they can delve deep down into another’s private zone and dole out well meaning advice?

Example 3
Someone who is severely obese and dealing everyday with the limitations of the body is constantly queried on weight and weight loss. I can see this individual cringe and see the complete discomfort all over the face every time someone mentions weight. Does one really realize how our inconsequential probes can affect another? Are we sensitive to realize how our thoughtless (& sometimes meaningless) banter can influence someone’s life?

And most of the times, people who are put in the spot respond in one of the following ways -
* They remain silent and let you do all the talking, or
* They completely zone out and simply don't even listen to what you say, or
* They become completely defensive, or
* They become aggressive, or
* They just put you right back on the spot knowing your vulnerabilities...

So, the next time you put someone on a spot… Just pause and think – “What if, just what if someone put you on the spot. Would you like it? How would you react? How would you respond?”

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