crowd, men, women

Why Bother Getting Along?

The world’s population is about 8 billion. In the United States there are about 339 million people. I am 1 of the 2 million people who live in Idaho and 1 of 10,000 who live in the town of Sandpoint. There are a lot of people living in this world and somehow we all need to get along.

    One Person at a Time

Thankfully, I do not have to think about how to get along with 8 billion, 339 million or 10,000 people all at once. I only need to consider how to get along with one person at a time; the one ahead of me in line at the grocery store, a fellow road biker or the friend who greets me on the street. Getting along with one person at a time simply means treating each person in the best way you know. 

Though some people like to quote the golden rule, “Treat others as you’d like to be treated,” as the way to conduct themselves with other people, I’m not sure that works so well. Instead, I think it is better to conduct ourselves with others based on how well we know them. 

For instance, at 4:50 a.m. three times a week, I go to our local health club to swim. I am an early riser and by the time I arrive at the pool, I’m wide awake and cheery. I like to be treated with enthusiasm, zeal and down right gleefulness. I like hearing people shout out, “Hey Terese, good morning.” 

Though some of the life guards are amiable at that hour, others are not. If I were to treat them like I like to be treated, they would think I was rude, obnoxious and insensitive. 

I know the lifeguards who are there physically, but lack a cheery demeanor until later. Not until I am leaving the pool, around 6:50, will those slow to feel happy lifeguards appreciate my smile, wave and hearty, “Have a good day.”

Adapting myself and knowing each lifeguard as best I can helps us all to get along. 

In like manner, adapting myself  to a fellow bike rider makes for a better ride for the both of us. Though I like to go fast and far, if I want any company on a ride, I have to make an adjustment or two. Some of my friends do not like riding as far or as fast as I do while others refuse to ride on the highway. For a harmonious excursion to occur, I am willing to conform to their preference because I like their company.

Not every relationship takes the same amount of adaptation, knowledge or energy.  There are those brief encounters we all have with store clerks, cab drivers, stewardesses and waiters. A courteous smile and kind words of appreciation are the only ingredients needed for a friendly exchange. 

Yet no matter who, what, where or when we encounter another human being, the very best way to get along is to respect them in the best way you can. 

Why bother getting along? With as many people as there are in our world who share the same space, getting along is essential for everybody.

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