Do people treat you how you treat them?

Discuss the January book of the month Burn Zones by Jorge P. Newbery.

Do people treat you how you treat them?

Post Number:#1  Postby Scott » January 26th, 2016, 11:18 am

One theme I enjoy from the January book of the month, Burn Zones, is the idea that people will treat you how you treat them.

Jorge P. Newbery says as much a few times in Burn Zones. It is also demonstrated by the punk rockers in his parents house and for me most notably by the tough Ricky who helped Jorge retrieve his spilled coins.

Do you find this is also true in your experience? I do.

In fact, it seems to me the people who get treated poorly due to stereotypes and prejudice tend to respond kindly to respectful treatment even more than more up-tight people. I suppose they are so used to being treated poorly that even a moderate amount of respect and kindness goes a long way for them and is much appreciated.

I use to be a waiter and bartender for years. Unfortunately, servers tend to be very prejudiced, thinking certain types of people don't tip as well or give more trouble to the server. However, I think a lot of these prejudices are really self-fulfilling: If you treat the customer worse because you don't expect a good tip or are annoyed to have to take care of that kind of customer, is it any surprise that then the customer is not as nice as the customers you treat better? I'd say most of my best customers and best tips were from people who would be stereotyped as not being the best customers, and I think that's because they appreciated the good service that they rarely get. People who are used to getting the world handed to them on a silver platter probably won't appreciate it as much. What do you think?
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Re: Do people treat you how you treat them?

Post Number:#2  Postby Ormond » January 26th, 2016, 1:27 pm

Well Scott, if that was true, there would be no need for you to have adamant rules about manners here on the forum. You could just be polite to everybody, and they would reciprocate.

It's necessary to have the firm rules you have here because it's very common for human beings to want "one rule for me, another for you". Thus, one poster will claim the right to be snotty to others, but of course no one is supposed to be snotty to them.

If everyone was willing to play by the same rules, then we could be snotty all day long and it wouldn't be a problem. The problem arises because we don't want it to be fair, we want something for nothing, cake and eat it too, one rule for me and another for you.
If the things we want to hear could take us where we want to go, we'd already be there.
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Re: Do people treat you how you treat them?

Post Number:#3  Postby Juicycheck07 » January 26th, 2016, 2:05 pm

Ormond wrote:Well Scott, if that was true, there would be no need for you to have adamant rules about manners here on the forum. You could just be polite to everybody, and they would reciprocate.


Then there are trolls. They begin with an ambiguous, often insulting and untrue statement and 'watch the flame wars!'. There are others who consider their opinions above all and those who don't mind even if they don't receive politeness from others. I think insecure individuals also tend to be more empathetic.

I agree with Scott in that giving politeness would result in receiving politeness. I believe the reason we are nice to others is that we have the ability to feel how others feel; we can relate to them. I believe that, throughout our history, we have used politeness as a measure of trust. "I can rely on that person because they have helped me in the past: so I will continue to help them so that they will continue to help me."
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Re: Do people treat you how you treat them?

Post Number:#4  Postby Scribbler60 » January 26th, 2016, 4:59 pm

Juicycheck07 wrote:... giving politeness would result in receiving politeness. I believe the reason we are nice to others is that we have the ability to feel how others feel; we can relate to them. I believe that, throughout our history, we have used politeness as a measure of trust. "I can rely on that person because they have helped me in the past: so I will continue to help them so that they will continue to help me."

Oh, I so wish this were true.

Many years ago I worked in, and managed a number of, retail establishments selling cameras and related hardware. Being unfailingly polite is a job requirement, both of me and of the staff who worked for me.

And the number of ignorant, aggressive and downright nasty people that me and my staff had to deal with on a regular basis almost - almost - destroyed my faith in humanity.

So, while I'd like to believe that giving politeness results in receiving politeness, alas, practical experience shows otherwise.
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Re: Do people treat you how you treat them?

Post Number:#5  Postby Greta » January 26th, 2016, 6:14 pm

I agree, Scott. It's not failsafe but if you consider the percentages, definitely. I spent a few years working at an OH&S call centre and it became clear that the kind of day you had usually depended on how cheery and focused you could be, especially first thing in the morning. After a poor night's sleep it could be difficult to muster enthusiasm at the start of a shift and, if you ran into the wrong person while vulnerable and the first call went badly, then it could be difficult to recover. With each bad call your ability to shield yourself with good cheer reduces. There is an obvious feedback dynamic.

As Ormond suggested, it also depends on whose idea of "politeness". No matter how benign you are someone will always take offence and reject you. We have varied social expectations and that leads to the three big social "misses" - misunderstandings, misinterpretations and and misrepresentations, which are famously endemic in public discussion.

Perhaps in time we will learn to trust each other enough to be candid and honest - to trust that others will take your words as intended rather than placing the most negative possible spin on them. This reflexive negativity seems to be a habit conditioned into society by the adversarial nature of politics, law and (informally) the media. How often is it that politicians and lawyers take what is said by their opposition by its intent? More often, literal interpretations are applied in order to misrepresent.

But (most of us) are not politicians, lawyers or journalists. We are in a position to focus on what others are actually trying to say, reading between the lines, rather than taking the most jaundiced possible view.
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Re: Do people treat you how you treat them?

Post Number:#6  Postby Misty » January 28th, 2016, 8:24 am

"Do people treat you how you treat them?" It is never consistent.
Things are not always as they appear; it's a matter of perception.

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Re: Do people treat you how you treat them?

Post Number:#7  Postby Juicycheck07 » January 30th, 2016, 9:18 am

Scribbler60 wrote:And the number of ignorant, aggressive and downright nasty people that me and my staff had to deal with on a regular basis almost - almost - destroyed my faith in humanity.

So, while I'd like to believe that giving politeness results in receiving politeness, alas, practical experience shows otherwise.


There have been stages in every one's life, presumably, when they fail to keep their cool. Placing yourself in their shoes, you would come to realise that their temper was ruined thanks to a previous circumstance in their life, as Greta explained. Whenever I am upset, I would much rather have someone understanding my problem than them throwing back the same hate I passed on to them. This would be better for both parties. And my temper will revert (and have reverted) to my lost equilibrium if they respond politely and assist me in regaining my composure. Forgiveness is key: one must ideally see oneself in others and aid them in building positive memories. Cheers.
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Re: Do people treat you how you treat them?

Post Number:#8  Postby 3uGH7D4MLj » May 5th, 2016, 9:04 am

Scott wrote:One theme I enjoy from the January book of the month, Burn Zones, is the idea that people will treat you how you treat them.

I wish everyone would just run their personal program instead of responding to the other. I don't want to be buttered up because someone is hoping for a good response. And if someone is rude, I try my best to be myself, not responding in kind.

Decide who you are and be that person, no matter what the situation.
fair to say
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Re: Do people treat you how you treat them?

Post Number:#9  Postby Idk » May 12th, 2016, 9:01 pm

Depends upon the person and their agenda, but usually a smile will bring better results than a frown.

For longer relationships, I find you have to teach people how to treat you.
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Re: Do people treat you how you treat them?

Post Number:#10  Postby LuckyR » May 20th, 2016, 9:08 pm

Scott's premise is a truism, even if not always true. There are a number of caveats though, especially as pertains this thread: first, Scott based his post on face to face interactions (in bars and restaurants), I agree that this holds more true in that situation. References to this Forum (and any other electronic interaction) is going to be less true, much less. We are all familiar with the fact that folks say stuff online that they would NEVER say face to face. We can debate why that is, but there you have it.

Secondly I would describe Scott's experience with slightly (but importantly) different wording. Less as: people treat you how you treat them, and more like: people treat you as you train/allow them to treat you.
"As usual... it depends."
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