Becoming Kiera Knightley
Something interesting happened on Facebook last week. I posted about a man who does odd jobs around the house and how my inclination is to bend over backwards to get him to like me even though he gives me very clear signals that he either doesn’t like me or simply has a gruffness that comes out when communicating with women in general. He is fine talking to Josh.
I mentioned that I had stopped myself from making him muffins (with the sole purpose to win him over) because it was very Kiera Knightley in Love Actually of me. I think she’s one of the worst stories in the movie. She spends the movie trying to coyly charm her husband’s best friend despite the fact that he clearly does not want to interact with her. Either she has had the shortest engagement in history and therefore has only known this friend for a few weeks and is still trying to win him over OR she has been dealing with this awkwardness of months/years and is STILL pretending like she can just act cute and everyone will come around and love her. Either way, things aren’t looking good for Kiera’s character. Either she’s getting married to someone she just started dating or she is unwilling to understand that some people just won’t like her in this world.
So my post was merely about my own foible — my desire to make someone like me who clearly doesn’t like me and doesn’t need to like me. That being a pleaser is part of my personality, but it is also a statement on women in general since this trait — making sure you’re doing everything to make the people around you happy even if it means making yourself unhappy — is one of our weaknesses.
Offer the man coffee. Offer the man food I am already planning to make. But also understand that it’s okay if he doesn’t like me. I am not everyone’s cup of tea.
But it also raised a different thought for me — I didn’t hire him for his personality. I hired him because he’s really good at fixing things. He comes quickly. He stays until the job is done. He tries to save me money when he can. All signs of a good worker. Yes, he rolls his eyes when I ask a question, but I didn’t hire him to have kind facial expressions. I hired him solely for his knowledge and trustworthiness and artistry.
I guess this struck me because I worked with so many kids over the years with differences that affected their personalities. And I hate the idea of them having difficulty keeping a job just because they lack social skills despite having all capabilities to do a job in place. You could make an argument that personality is a part of certain jobs, such as salesperson, teacher, or lawyer. But when personality is not part of the job itself and the person isn’t cruel, should they be penalized or replaced just because they roll their eyes and sigh? I don’t know.
I guess some people feel that if they’re paying someone to do a job, they shouldn’t have to deal with rudeness, but I guess I’m someone who is willing to put up with some rudeness for a job well done. What I’m not willing to put up with is myself bending over backwards to make people like me. Life is too short to worry about what this guy thinks of me.
And one thing you don’t know about this guy — he talks out song lyrics to himself while he works. Talks. Not sings. Like I just got to hear a spoken word “Brown Eyed Girl” by Van Morrison this week, and it made me smile. Even if he did sigh moments later when I went to ask him a question.