Dan Ariely’s Advise
can be applied to Many similar patterns of social interaction – it’s from his Wall Street Journal column “Ask Dan”. Â http://online.wsj.com/search/term.html?KEYWORDS=DAN+ARIELY&bylinesearch=trueÂ Â Â
Many years ago, I was badly burned, and since then, I carry many visible scars. Recently, at a Halloween party, somebody pointed to the scars on my face and told me what a wonderful costume I had. I tried to correct her and explained that I was really very badly burned, but she burst out laughing.
At this point, I had two choices: make her feel guilty or let it go. What should I have done? I must admit that it colored the Halloween party for me, and I no longer felt like I belonged.
You should have let it go. The person pointing out your scars clearly had only good intentions, and trying to correct her once was sufficient. This was probably one of hundreds of comments that she made during the party, and while her remark was central for you, if you asked her in 48 hours about her memories from the party, she probably wouldnâ€™t even remember you, your scars or her comment. You had already stopped enjoying the party after her comment; my guess is that having made her feel bad about her remark would only have intensified your negative feelings.
P.S. One more lesson from this unfortunate episode: Sometimes, putting yourself in the position of an external advisor and asking yourself what advice youâ€™d give to someone else in the same situation can be a useful way to reason more calmly and make better decisions. Good luck using this approach next time.
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