Monday, March 2, 2009

Question of the Day #117

Yesterday, I ended up sunsetting at a beachside bar with a bunch of friends. When one of the guys, N, got up to use the bathroom, a girl sat in his seat. He came back and said, "Pardon me, this is my seat."

She rolled her eyes at him and snapped, "Really?"

He attempted to smile said, "Well, yes, really, it's my seat."

In an effort to be helpful, JL, next to him, leaned over to the girl and said, "You know, some tables just opened up outside if you'd like to sit."

She shot up, wacked her purse against the table, yanked her hoodie off N's chair, huffed a "Whatever!" and stood four feet away from us, kind of hovering, for the next hour or so.

So when N and JL stepped out again, she sat in his chair again. Then she actually slid JL's chair around the table's end and put it opposite her so her friend could face her. The other four of us at the six top stared at each other.

I leaned into her, gave my most gracious smile and said, "Seriously. They just stepped out. They'll be back in two minutes."

She rolled her eyes at me.

I turned to my friends and said, "Am I gonna have to get all Jersey on this chick?"

C's eyes bulged. M's shoulders haunched and JC giggled, anticipating the upcoming drama.

The guys returned, stopped and stared.

N walked up to the girl and said, "Hi. Can I have my seat back?"

She rolled her eyes again. (Which I must say is the biggest third grade move I've seen since third grade.) Then she blurted, "No!"

In an attempt to be patient, he said, "This is ridiculous. This is my seat."

She started yelling and finally he told her to get out of the chair in a less polite manner. And finally, she did and went straight downstairs to complain to a manager.

We were dumbfounded. I'd never seen anything like it. And she didn't seem drunk, she just seemed mean.

And maybe I'm naive or maybe just a hermit, but I rarely encounter mean people. My friends and I talked about this and stunningly, to me anyway, N thinks the population is 70% mean, 30% nice. JC thought it was more like the opposite, 70% nice, 30% mean. I told them I felt like people are 95% nice and 5% mean.

They looked at me like I'm a moron.

So I want to know, how often do you encounter the mean? What kind of mean to nice ratio does your world offer up?



  1. I'd lean towards 90% mean, 10% nice probably because of where I live.

  2. Call me Pollyanna, but I think most people are nice. I think that maybe 1% mean. There are a lot of insecure, socially awkward people out there that might come off weird, but I don't think they're mean. So, truly mean, I stand by 1%. Now stupid, that's another story.

  3. Growing up I thought the world was 100% nice, unfortunately as I've gotten older I've come to meet more and more mean people. Each time I meet a mean person, it still upsets me. I just don't understand why anyone would want to be mean. I would have to say, as of late, my experience has been 75% mean and 25% nice. Isn't that depressing!

  4. Sorry I was logged into the wrong account (see stupid below).

    I think people can be super self absorbed but not generally mean. That girl sounded like she sucked lemons for a living. I lean toward mostly nice with a dash of mean and a generous helping of stupid.

  5. I'm with HK all the way. social skills, stupidity,insecurity etc. Sad but true. "In the woods" a smile is 99% returned. Even on the road if you pass a car! a wave is issued and/or responded to. Sooo, I'm on the 99% nice and 1% mean.
    Interesting survey. Is it where we live, our stressful pace or lifestyle? upbringing?personality?

  6. What very different responses!? What's very intriguing to me is Suzi said "don't make me get all JerZ" on the girl - so yeah maybe it's just NJ people that have to deal with the mean people. I swear 99% of the mean people are here, and when I travel I always say how strange it is how nice people are... hmmmm perhaps that's a sign.

  7. I KNOW! I'm a little shocked at the contrast in answers. Perhaps it is regional.

    As for the getting JerZ, I didn't mean that Jersey people are mean. I just associate "getting all Jersey on her" with being in high school. When it was all about standing up for myself and my big haired Jersey Girls. One sideways glance and we'd attack. So that girl rolling her eyes at me was enough to put me in pounce position. : )

  8. Hmm... this is tough to answer. I believe in the goodness of humankind, but been stumbling on a lot of "mean" people lately. I think the economic crisis has been very harsh on a lot of people's spirit. My husband always says that mean people are actually unhappy ones. Makes sense to me, why nag on others if you are pleased with your life :).

  9. Rosidah, I think you pinned the tail on the mean girl. It's really the only answer - the only mean people I've ever known were not happy people.

    Yesterday was proof. Miss Eye Roller was clearly not sprouting beams of sunshine.

    It's just kinda sad that so many people are that unhappy.

  10. Wow. I can't believe she actually got in the chair again. I would have been embarrassed just knowing I took someone's chair even by accident. People are not only mean, but stupid. LOL @ getting all Jersey on her. You should have. ;)

  11. I don't know about mean. There are quite a few bigoted idiots running around out there. Hatred seems to exude from them when the right type of person is handy.

    I'm not normally a mean person, but I've been mean. Definitely related to my general mood at the time.

    The thing I see more often is crazy. And there's no explaining crazy. And no changing it either. I can be mean and I can apologize and say I was an idiot. Crazy is just crazy.

  12. This girl was 100% mean. I agree. I will say this about her though... she's got a set on her and she isn't fake... if those count for anything! HA.

    I've met a lot of people that are mean behind other's backs, especially so-called friends, but then pretend to be nice when they're in their presence.

    My ratio... 90/10...Nice/Mean. I think I've encountered 9 nice people for every meanie.

  13. Very interesting question you pose. I think a lot depends on where you live, which region or which country. I think this girl, whome you described as a 3rd grader, wanted attention and as some kids do, she was used to getting it through being bad, not good.

  14. I think most people are 'nice' but I also think a few are very selfish and run on their own agenda, which is how I interpret the young lady who refused to listen and just go find her own chair... too much work for her, hence she was very selfish.
    My grandmother taught me, "If you can't say something nice, don't say anything at all." I try to abide by that rule, but admit it can be difficult when dealing with someone like you encountered at the bar.

  15. I think that people are about 60% nice, 20% mean and 20% just don't care. I don't like mean people at all. If someone is mean to me or someone else around me I want to call them out and expose their mean behavior. Put them in the spotlight and see how they do. :)

  16. I wonder if mean is really mean or people are just not happy with themselves and then they feel they need to strike out at something or someone.
    I have always felt that grumpy people are just not happy people. I wonder how environment and past family history impacts an individual.
    Interesting topic.

  17. I'm 5/95% too Suz. I tend to live my life smiling back at strangers and holding the door for the person behind me. I like to believe everyone is like me but then I stub my toe on someone who hates themselves or their prediciment (sp? hmm?) & feels the need to spread the misery. I'm always baffled by the meaness of strangers. And, the chick with the chair...? I feel bad for her. It must be difficult living with someone you don't like - especially when it yourself.

  18. I'd like to say I can't believe it, but in some ways, I can. It may not be everywhere, but I ran into that self-centeredness a lot in Southern California, LA in particular. The biggest example for me was when I got pregnant with Ari. Once I was noticeably expecting, people in public places started being polite and kind and helpful like never before. It almost made me uncomfortable because I was expecting rude behavior and put off by people opening doors for me, holding the elevator, offering me chairs, etc. Of course, after my pregnancy, it went back to normal. :) And then, when I moved to Texas, it was the same sort of shock. People here are incredibly friendly. Seriously, we joked about moving to Stepford. Maybe it does have to do with how people are feeling about themselves and lives at the moment... Everyone's stress level in LA seemed much higher than it does among the people I meet now. It's noticeable anywhere from the line at the grocery store to the line of traffic waiting to go through an intersection... I guess it's good because my stress level is lower, too. And I'm a better driver. ;)


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