I stumbled across an old post of mine the other day – one of those weird moments when you google something and your own site comes up – which discussed the idea that some of the basics of a profession were a given. They could, and should, rightfully be presumed.
It made me realise I do the same of others in my social life as well. I have some basic ideals that I hold true and, while I will challenge them and expect others to as well, I have an unwritten expectation that the people I engage with will hold those ideals, morals and notions, to similar standards as mine.
Wow, that sounds weirdly creepy to write.
I guess all I’m trying to say is that I do my best to be polite to everyone, I try and be considerate of others, and I try to be mindful of the company and surroundings that I am in. I tend to be drawn to people who hold those ideals to be true.
I don’t always get things right, I know I have said the wrong thing at times, or not considered the medium I’m using, and it’s backfired pretty badly on me. I don’t like it when that happens but I know that every time I screw up I learn from it.
And that is one of the things I hold as an ideal. Everyone fucks up, just try and learn from it.
Equally there are other things which aren’t really ideals, or morals, but still jar me to my core when I see them. Not in a big shocking way, these aren’t things that make me catch my breath and make my head spin, these illicit little more than a quiet resigned sigh.
I’m possibly too aware that what I’m about to say might make me sound like a snob but I’ll be honest. I don’t care.
One small example of the ‘quiet resigned sigh’ happened yesterday. Watching lazy Sunday morning TV and someone on-screen picked up their fork to eat, knuckles wrapped around the handle as they shovelled the food from plate to mouth.
OK, it’s a small (bad) example but as one of the myriad of tiny signals that our brains have to interpret I think it holds true. After all, isn’t it that kind of thing, alongwith more fundamental questions, are what guides us in our choice of friends and in the shape our social circles. The first small interactions start our brains on a path towards a decision, the way a phrase is constructed, the words and intonation used, the position of the eyes, the body language.
And that’s all before you start to get to know that person better, before you start to learn their likes and dislikes. Presuming you get that far, of course.
Where it gets interesting is when you find yourself overlooking a certain habit or trait and let someone be a part of your life. How do you decide? What factors drive you to accept one person but shun another?
I have no idea how I base my decisions in this area. Looking at my friends we come from similar backgrounds but in our formative years we all branched away and became very different people, yet as a group everything works because we have a set of core values that we all share (and no, it’s not just booze).
I’ll be honest, this isn’t something I’ve really questioned all that much but it does seem that over the past couple of years, as my polyamorous life has taken hold and I’ve made a concerted effort to simplify my life, I have made decisions based on these very sketchy outlines of what I consider to be morals, or ideals. Hell, I’m not even sure what the right word is.
Which I guess prompts the question, what are my ideals and morals? What values do I hold true to myself and of others? What is the right word?!
It turns out that ideals and morals are the right words.
It turns out that I don’t really have all that many in detail, and I’ve realised more and more that I like that. I like having that flexibility, I like that I tend not to judge people beyond a few basic principles (and how they hold their fork when eating, obv),
I like that I am open to learning about others, listening to them, and learning from them before I judge them.
And perhaps that is where I draw the line. Perhaps that is the idealistic morality I hold true and will judge others by.
If you aren’t willing to listen to others then, my friend, I don’t wanna know you.