Wednesday, September 24, 2008

תמליכו חברכם עליכם

Very concisely- there was a girl I went out with in Miami two years ago (someone who has been specifically mentioned here quite a few times), but who I wish to mention now in a different context) who ultimately felt I was lacking in certain elemental interpersonal traits. She wrote me an email of lessons and teachings for myself improvement upon the commencing of our short tenure together. I would like to quote a small piece of it and comment a bit- this is just a sampling of it:

"As a mother raises her child, she usually teaches him how to act. She lavishes him with care and in return demands/expects gratitude. All people need appreciation, usually more than “thank-you” but a genuine empathy and appreciation. Of course it is impossible to re-raise a grown person.

But a good exercise in learning to think this way could be to get in the habit of thinking about and vocalizing one nice thing about each person you meet.
At first it might seem forced or artificial but soon it will become a permanent habit in life.

Tell the bagboy at the grocery that you appreciate what a nice job he his doing for you.

Another important character trait is empathy. When you see another human being, think about what it is like to be them. What is it like to be the Janitor cleaning the bathrooms?

How can you improve his day?

What could you do to help make his job easier? after all, without the proper circumstances in life, you could spend YOUR life cleaning toilets. How would you like to be treated as you were cleaning toilets?

...So much so that we as Jews who were created in and should behave in a manner that is in accordance with Hashem’s image, should lavish kindness upon every person we meet, Jew, Gentile, brilliant or retarded. And as we treat others, Hashem judges and treats us. This is just basic Judaism.

...Observing that someone is serving you and getting up to help is along the same vein. Not just in a home, but even in a restaurant."

I was thinking last night (in Starbucks Coffee) when my thank you was a bit lacking to the one who made the coffee for me about what it says here- namely that even a thank you is not good enough, you have to 1. Really feel that he's doing you an unnecessary favor that you don't deserve, and 2. You have to make him feel appreciated.I was thinking, that when it says "תמליכו חברכם עליכם", does that mean just to people who are older than you? Just to Rabbis? Just to Jews? It means everybody. Would a king make you coffee? Well he is! The least you can do is be thankful for it!

Another thing that came to my mind was that when I worked in a restaurant there were obviously people who said things that made me happier than others. I personally enjoyed when people were playful, but it's hard to say everyone enjoys that. One thing I think most people enjoy is (like I said) to seem very appreciative of the service being done. Now, of course there's no need to be gay about it (I use "gay" to mean "overly nice", or unusually friendly), but I was thinking you can say something like "oh man! You're a lifesaver!", or "ahh, this is really good! You da man!", or something along those lines (of course the exact wording would have to change based on apparent "cultural preferences"/gender of the person serving you).

But then again, it must be stated that people have vastly differing personalities, and different people are more or less comfortable saying certain things, and different people are more or less happy to hear certain things. Example: the girl I'm speaking of lived in an upscale part of Miami where there was a guarded gate at the entrance. She smiled and waved at the guard every time she came in our out (in her car). I on the other hand don't feel I would really have the 'audacity' to do that kind of thing every time (not to mention the 'gay-ness' involved!).

So I still don't think it's a set science how you should act or what you should tell 'service providers', but as long as one sticks to the guidelines initially laid out, it would be well-alright.

28 comments:

Rachel said...

... and smiling. Smile all the time- even at strangers. I think that's up there with saying "thank you."

The part about waving at the security guard being "gay"- Not at all! It's always the most fun when a complete stranger becomes part of your daily routine that way. I could look back and think of a handful of people I never really knew that still were part of my life for a period of time just by the daily "good mornings."

הצעיר שלמה בן רפאל לבית שריקי ס"ט said...

Ah! Put that's what I'm sayng my l..de..whatever(!), different personalities are not comfortable acting in the same way. I for example am quite the intorverted hermit. For me to smile and wave at some guy I don't know is..gay! I mean really gay! I mean, even gay people wouldn't do something so gay! So I don't know...I have a very strong opinion about the smiles actually; it's very silly and there's no need for it. You can be just as nice not smiling. I mean, it's a fake smile! I mean for G-d's sake nothing is funny and they're not overly happy about anything- most of the time 'they' are just getting paid for it. It's an American thing..I read once..that in Germany clerks decided to smile at people, and sometimes (if it was a guy), and he was smiling at someones wife, it seemed like he was trying to hit on her! ..ah! Nothing I hate more than fake American smiles...

"...that still were part of my life for a period of time just by the daily "good mornings."- I don't know if that's really considered 'part of your life'..

הצעיר שלמה בן רפאל לבית שריקי ס"ט said...

Ha! I wrote 'Put' instead of 'But' in the beggining! I'm such an Arab! (well..in the opposite senario..). I don't know..the 'p' is not even close to the 'b' on the keyboard..and I do it in writing too! It seems to be hardwired into me!

Rachel said...

Introverted hermit, you need to be more gay. I suggest you purchase a rainbow flag ASAP.

Smiling at people is not necessarily fake. And you don't have to be a cashier to smile, nor a perverted German.

Rachel said...

...you're blog could also use a new color scheme, y'know. Especially that heavy orange in this post.... :P ;)

הצעיר שלמה בן רפאל לבית שריקי ס"ט said...

yes, quite true.. but now that you mention it, I'm starting to think that your mama actually also can use a new color scheme!

Rachel said...

You is funny, Introverted Hermit! You've grown quite the mouth, y'know.

And watch what you say about my absolutely perfect mama, or else I've got quite a few things to say about your mama too... :P

הצעיר שלמה בן רפאל לבית שריקי ס"ט said...

Yes, quite the paradox I am..

And nothing 'perfect' ever came out of Iran, ok? ; ) ...except your mama! Almost got you there!

..and you ain't got nothin' on my mama, ok?!

Rachel said...

Uh, Hermit, isn't it time for you to go back into your dark cave? Why, yes. Yes, I think it is. I hear your mama's cooking gefilte fish in there.

הצעיר שלמה בן רפאל לבית שריקי ס"ט said...

haha. It seems my mouth and your tongue would make a good match! ..whoah, that SO doesn't sound right!..

And be warned; this is the last time you use the words gefilte fish and my mama in the same sentance!

Rachel said...

You make me puke. Ich.

הצעיר שלמה בן רפאל לבית שריקי ס"ט said...

oh, come on! you know what I meant!

הצעיר שלמה בן רפאל לבית שריקי ס"ט said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
הצעיר שלמה בן רפאל לבית שריקי ס"ט said...

I feel guilty, but this is actually all quite funny to me actually!

..I'm gonna have a lot to say by slichot tommorow! (I usually come out of vidduy bruised anyway, so..!)

Rachel said...

Well if you're admitting you'll have a lot on your dish for slichot then you KNOW that was gross! So don't say, "Oh, come on! You know what I meant!" You went to yeshiva, so even more so you know right from wrong. (So what if I'm a hypocrite? I give rebuke where it is deserved, sorry.)

Anonymous said...

Oh I see the p, b, saga....

Me thinks it's just one of the differences between the female and male souls. This is also the difference between different folks... some smile/wave and thank every one out there and others just dont....I think your girl wanted you to be more sensitive to her and perhaps more intuned with her... more of the female attributes.

הצעיר שלמה בן רפאל לבית שריקי ס"ט said...

Obviously. Again, there are also socio-geographical differences...but honestly, I still thin k it's a bit hypocritical to be so 'super-nice' to 'stangers', while one is still lacking in how they act to people they're well-aquainted with...

Rachel said...

I thought about this some. I think it's not a matter of being "super nice," rather just being "pleasant"... spreading a pleasant attitude throughout your world.

The Babysitter said...

There's no set out rule that says you have to wave to people, if that's not your mode of communication then there is no reason to make yourself uncomfortable. If saying a good morning or hello is better than you can do that.

The whole point of a smile is that it should come naturally, there is no need to make yourself smile, then it just looks forced and makes you look uncomfortable. The joy of seeing someone smile, is knowing that they smiled for you, not because they had to.

I agree with Rachel about the Good mornings helping make someone become a part of your life. It actually made a big difference in my life. I have this thing where I'm afraid of special people. There is a hasc house near me with high functioning special woman. In the beginning I didn't like the idea of it being there. But then every morning I would see this one lady wait for her bus to take her somewhere, I used to walk with my father in the mornings, and he would always wave to her and say good morning, so I started doing it too. Then when I stopped walking with my father, I continued to say good morning and wave to her when I saw her. I never said anything else to her, and she would always smile and wave back. But this made such a big impact, because I saw her as a regular person. Then one time when I ventured into the HASC house, she was so happy to see me, and when the counselors introduced the ladies to me, she was like "yea, I know her" and she was so happy, as if we had a special connection that we shared. It made me feel more comfortable having that house near me, and I'm not scared of any of those ladies. So yea a good morning and a wave can make a difference.

How is a "p" instead of a "b" like an Arab?

I was reading a frum meets world post, where they talked about how these BY girls who weren't educated would say stuff, and that it didn't sound right, and that really they should be educated so they don't say such stuff. Well now I see someone who does seem educated say the same type of thing, and on purpose, makes me wonder which is worse.

About strangers, its usually easier to be nice and pleasant with strangers, than people you know. Since people you know come with flaws so it's harder to be grateful for them. While strangers, you only see the good they are doing for you, so it's easier to be happy with them.

In general, if someone is doing a service for you, they are doing something for your benefit, so they do deserve something. That's why its customary to give tips at restaurants, even though it's their job, you give them a tip so that it's more personal. That it makes a difference to them of one job from another.

Also, if you say thank you more often, and smile and stuff, it just makes you a happier person. It makes you in a good mood, and you enjoy it, at least that's how it is by me. Even if I don't always mean it at first, their kind reaction makes it worth it to be nice to them.

הצעיר שלמה בן רפאל לבית שריקי ס"ט said...

Oh, thanks for writing : )

"I have this thing where I'm afraid of special people."- "Special people"?! That's so passe! 'Developmentally disabled' maybe!

That story of yours does prove that point a little better though. Thank you for sharing.

"...there is no need to make yourself smile, then it just looks forced and makes you look uncomfortable"- Some peoples faces are more naturally inclined to smiling.

"How is a "p" instead of a "b" like an Arab?"- Well "p" to "b" is actually not really Arab, but it seems it goes both ways by me. You see, there's no letter "P" in Arabic (only "f" and "b"), which is why people who grew up speaking only Arabic say things like "bibsi" (instead of "Pepsi"..there's also no "e" vowel).

"I was reading a frum meets world post, where they talked about how these BY girls who weren't educated would say stuff, and that it didn't sound right, and that really they should be educated so they don't say such stuff. Well now I see someone who does seem educated say the same type of thing, and on purpose, makes me wonder which is worse."- Hahaha. Lovely! The first time I read this I was pretty much in the dark about what you were getting at, but I found the text you were reffering to, and now I know quite clearly what you're talking about(!), but am still not quite sure what you're saying about it (I'm slow : P).

A few points: 1. I think I'm able to be a little more 'free' hiding behind the relative anonymity of the internet, because I'm naturally quite a timid person, and also obviously discusted by the kind of remarks that girl seemed to be discussing.

[As an aside, I once told the father of the girl I was discussing in the post something which I regretted: I was staying in a hostel, and some guy was going to the beach (but in his accent it sounded similar to how he might pronounce another word!). So I reported to her father that when I asked him where he was headed, and he said "the beach", I asked him "why you keep going back to her man" ; )...quite corny, I know..but listen, her father wore a necklace, so...]

2. When I see people poking fun of the most sexual things in public, I feel bad for them because they've obviously lost any and all sensitivity in that area.

And 3. What I said wasn't the most serious offence, and I didn't pretend to overlook it's impropiety.

"That's why its customary to give tips at restaurants, even though it's their job, you give them a tip so that it's more personal."- That's obviously not the 'only' reason it's costomary to tip (I think restaurant financing is perhaps the main reason).

The Babysitter said...

Long Hebrew Name: You're welcome

ok, you can call them developmentally disabled if you want.

Perhaps, you are right, I had a teacher that was just always smiling, it could be naturally her face is like that. So yea it may be easier for some.

Interesting, I never knew that.

I was slow at getting the "beach" thing but I got that. But yea with certain people they joke around like that, and some don't. Considering you use your real name, don't see how that's so anonymous, but yea I know what you mean.

Right, ok, I understand. So long as it was thought out, and so long as there is still some sensitivity left as to what's appropriate or not.

The Babysitter said...

Long Hebrew name: Also, I meant to ask, is a "c" used instead of a "g" in Arabic?

Rachel said...

Babysitter, I figured since Long Hebrew Name didn't answer yet (and I found this sitting in my inbox) I would give my idea here (sorry for taking momentary reign here, Shlomo, and tell me if I'm wrong):

I think in Arabic a "Q" is used instead of a "g," except it's more of a "g" sound that comes deep from the bottom of the throat.

Rachel said...

Like the q in "Qatar."

The Babysitter said...

Rachel: Interesting, cause the reason I asked was, that he said "discusting" with a "c" instead of with a "g" so I was wondering if it had anything to do with different letters in Arabic, cause last time he mixed up his "p" and "b"

הצעיר שלמה בן רפאל לבית שריקי ס"ט said...

haha. First off: Rachel, hand the crown back over, this is my blog! : P

I wrote 'discusting' because that's kind of how it sounded in my mind when I wrote it I guess..I mean there's really only a negligable difference between the 'g' and 'c' in that word...

But for the record; In Arabic, as in Hebrew, there are two levels of 'k'; in Arabic "caf"(lighter, 'cheek' sound) and "qaf"(heavier 'throat' sound), which are paraleled in Hebrew by the "kaf" and "quf".

Though there is also no 'g' sound in Arabic, only 'gh' and 'j' (intrestingly enough by most Arabic speaking sefaradim a 'gimel' without a 'dot' is pronounced like the former, and by Yemenite Jews a 'gimel' with a dot is pronounced like the latter)..?

...as an aside I took interest at a young age in Hebrew pronounciations due to the awkward pronounciations I heard from the eastern Earopean Jews, as well as the Uzbeckistani and Yemenite Jews, etc...

הצעיר שלמה בן רפאל לבית שריקי ס"ט said...

I forgot to mention(!), I think what Rachel was discussing was the (Arabic) Yemenite 'g'(as in 'green') instead of the hard 'q' I was talking about (which they don't pronounce). Iraqi's just make a gutteral sound instead of it. Hence some from that area say 'adish instead of "kadish"..etc, etc, etc!

Babysitter:

"Long Hebrew Name"- For the love of G-d man, my name is shlomo! You know that!

"I was slow at getting the "beach" thing but I got that"- Ah, is there only one person here who can understand fine humor?!

"Considering you use your real name, don't see how that's so anonymous, but yea I know what you mean"- You know; the people who read it don't know me, etc..

The Babysitter said...

Very interesting, I learned some language lessons now.

ok then, Shlomo: what's fine humor?