Moving to a new place has its ups and downs; so does finding yourself in any surrounding you’re not accustomed to. Your senses are operating on high-speed; you’re taking in all the smiles, hugs, and stares, while trying to discern who is who, and what group to place people as they come your way.
I’m sure everyone has experienced a concerned citizen grab your hand or shoulder and volunteer to help make your transition a little easier.
Now I’m all up for ‘angels’ and ‘present helps’ who show up when confusion just becomes your middle name. They almost feel like the breath of fresh air, taste of cold water, or the taste of mint. Most times everyone would welcome the new friend(s) that takes your hand to show you around.
What I find very disturbing is how much control he/she/they will have over the rest of your experience in that organization or environment.
Being the new girl on the block has its perks. From previous experiences, I have learned to be more careful, because how I make the transition from JJC to home girl will affect the rest of my stay in that given place. I’ve gotten my fair share of concerned citizen escorts. They are usually experts in loaded comments: few words which mean too much. Pointing at someone and dropping the atomic bomb ‘Be careful oh!’ and then when asked why; their response would always start with ‘I heard’, ‘they said’, ‘somebody said’, ‘they told me’ etc. The sources are always anonymous. Now these are the people I call ‘character assassins from the pit of hell’.
Why, oh why…are you spreading news without knowing the source of the information? If someone did not offend you directly, why have you made it a mandate upon your life to induct every new person into a pre-existing hatred-association against that person? Even if you know the source of the story or it happened to you directly, what do you stand to gain by poisoning someone’s mind about another person?
These are the questions that fill my mind each time I think of this. While gossip is enjoyed, the people involved don’t always fully understand how much damage is done with the movements of their lips. People’s characters are defamed, future relationships that would have yielded good things are destroyed before they even got a chance to start, new hearts and minds are poisoned about an individual and it follows them wherever they go. You could spread an ill story about someone in Lagos today and a cousin of the person you told in Australia would hear that same story and the story keeps growing wings. In case you haven’t realized, the world is a small place and news travels very far with little fuel.
I’ve met couples who heard negative things about each other before they met, only to find out that those things are lies and they are soul mates. What would have happened if they had listened to concerned citizens? Think of how many relationships or friendships you have missed out on because someone put a negative story in your heart.
Dear readers, no one is perfect. I have messed up a few relationships/friendships and I have my flaws, but that doesn’t mean I’m no good to any other person I come across in my life. Instead I should focus on being better and when people offend me directly or indirectly, I should extend the same courtesy and give them a chance to get it right with someone else, not destroy their name and character before they even meet a new person. And for those professional gossip representatives spreading stories you don’t know the facts about, FEAR GOD and STOP!
I’m fully aware that some people succeed in burning every chance you give them to get it right and you might feel the need to protect a new person, friend, or loved one from such person. The best way to do that is to learn how to state confirmable facts about an incident without making judgments about the person’s character, let people make decisions about other people for themselves. For example, I should say ‘When I did business with Bisi, she didn’t pay me my money’ not ‘Bisi is selfish, irresponsible and owes everyone she does business with’. One says this is my experience be careful, the other kills Bisi’s character without even giving any tangible facts.
Regardless of how many people warn or help you, getting hurt in life is INEVITABLE. We are all human beings and our flaws make us prone to mistakes that cause us and the people in our lives pain. So instead of being a ‘character police’ or ‘character assassin’, let people make their choices. Remember, we are stronger because of how many people we lift up, not how many people we pull down. Don’t be a concerned citizen aka character assassin. It destroys more than you and I could ever imagine.
So who has had a concerned citizen experience? How did you handle it? What other tips do you have?
Photo Credit: Dreamstime |Elena Elisseeva