Compliments of abbamouse via Flickr

Everywhere we’ve passed we leave our mark. Most of us desire to leave a place better than when we arrived; in other words, to bless a space with our own unique insignia. Surprisingly, there are those who wish to do the opposite.

Creating an atrocity for shock value (a horror that’s left in one’s absence), is their macabre legacy. When they move on, other people are left with their mess. Aftermath can refer to behavioral carnage, or, to a physical presence. Anomalies like this happen when people fail to see themselves as part of a larger community.

Where community is absent each combatant is heavily armed, mired in defending his individual fortress against marauders. As in Newtonian physics where discrete atoms bump into, attract, or repel one other, individualistic peers are concerned with how they can obtain the most for themselves against the opposing efforts of other people.

Those who seemingly don’t care are therefore solely focused on themselves. If you are dealing with someone who is boorish or who has bad taste (or in the worst case scenario, both) you may be the recipient of unwanted offerings. This begs the question: how to create community, and how to bring others into the fold? Below are some pointers designed to reign in prodigal souls:

  • Apply the same rules to everyone, and speak to people who appear to dance to their own tune. Sometimes behavior is so beyond the pale of acceptable that surrounding persons back off, and fail to address the problem. The suspect may see this as a free pass to behave as he/she pleases.
  • Don’t make excuses.  “Boys will be boys,” “that’s just the way he/she is,” and” he wants what he wants,” simply make havoc someone else’s problem, and redirect the person in question from working on their issues. Create awareness to make sure offenders take action.
  • Set an example. If a majority of people behave otherwise, only the most obtuse will ignore hints. Silent messages in the way you treat others (and way you maintain your space) speak volumes to those around you.
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All viewpoints expressed by Jackie Gilbert are her own, and not of her employer.

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