Tattoos, Manners and Maturity

mouth taped shutYesterday my son and I stopped in a local store which I frequent often to the point that almost all the clerks know me by first name and we always have pleasant and fun conversations.

We have become familiar with each other. I know a little about their families and they know a little about my dogs.

Sometimes familiarity leads to lack of filters or the phenomenon that I have to remind my son about frequently: people don’t think.

My son has a full sleeve on his right arm; it is completely covered in tattoos.

As we were checking out the clerk asked him how long it took to do all that to which he responded “quite a while”. Then she told him that when he gets to her age he is going to regret all of that.


He didn’t say a word, he just looked at me and I smiled and I told her that I don’t think he will regret any of them. I thought that would be the end of the conversation, after all when your mom does the polite response that might be a hint. Nope.

She said he would just like all the guys who were in Vietnam who got tattoos and they are all trying to get them removed now. I smiled and said I didn’t think it was the same thing to which she responded it was because they had some of the same things as my son.

I just smiled and told her “what are you going to do” and to have a great day.

Throughout the entire conversation my son remained silent. Until we got in the car and that is where the mouth he inherited from his mother came through.

But he was polite in the moment and I was proud of him.

Very often people tend to blurt what they think, especially if they feel a sense of familiarity with you. It is not always the best thing to do but there it is, they just don’t think when they say certain things.

It could be that you have been job searching for a while and someone, a casual acquaintance, makes the comment, “gee, you have been at it a while, what’s wrong?”

Or maybe you are single and a quasi-familiar person makes the observation that “I can’t imagine why you are single; you are such a great guy!”

These things are not meant to be mean or disparaging to you, they are just little instances of people not using a filter or thinking before speaking.

Most people do not even realize they do it and if they realized what they said or how it could be interpreted they would immediately apologize and genuinely feel bad because it is not their intent.

It happens all the time. It is easy to let these things get to you and think, Gee, what is wrong with me that I can’t get a job or a wife – don’t.

There is nothing wrong with you at all. You are in a process and they are not privy to that process. No, it is not their place to make general commentary about it; however, taking these comments personally is not the spirit in which they are intended.

It is just their opinion or observation. It does not make it right. However, it is theirs and you have no obligation to take ownership. Taking offense takes ownership.

Let it go.

Just smile and let it go. My son handled the situation much better than me, I knew better. The mom instincts kicked in when I knew better.

He was more mature in that situation than I was. Yes, it is in print, it is out there and don’t think it is going to happen again.

Everyone has an opinion and most feel they need to share them with the world. As long as you leave it with them then you will be just fine.

Lisa K. McDonald, CPRW

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