My associate likes to think of herself not only as a fountain of wisdom, but also a free spirit - in other words she's a wise ass who could care less what other people think. Having a serious conversation with her, for the most part, can be rather pointless. She's right and you're wrong, or you're just being mean, or you're attacking her lifestyle, are just a few of the things she likes to point out to you. So this time I tried a little bit different tact: a bit of 'sum of us' philosophy.
No matter how we think of ourselves, in the real world we are all really the sum of every one else's opinion. What other people do think does count, it can't just be ignored. This doesn't mean we need to change our behavior in order to fit in. We need to remember their opinion is just as legitimate as ours, because our opinion of them is part of their sum. Walking around a corner with a four year old and a six year and finding two associates attempting to suck the life force out of each other's mouths was not these parents were expecting to find. The fact that these two associates were so caught up in this sucking process they failed to notice the customers made the matter worse.
Of course my associate failed to grasp the 'sum of us,' and became angrily vocal. "What is wrong with people!" she shouted. "Don't they know the beauty of love when they see it?' I bit my tongue and followed the 'sum of us' philosophy. I did not tell her no on thought it was beautiful, that everybody found their behavior unattractive and vulgar. I did tell her that from now on the two of them needed to refrain from this behavior while on the clock and future incidents would lead to being written up. Nor did I tell her that when her boyfriend's manager talked to him, his response was to shrug and say "okay." Sadly, she will never understand the 'sum of us' philosophy. She's going to do what she wants to do.
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