[Column] Boris Veldhuijzen van Zanten: When being polite is wrong
In the movie The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, a killer talks to his victim: "Let me ask you something. Why don't people trust their instincts? They sense something is wrong, someone is walking too close behind them. You knew something was wrong, but you came back into the house. Did I force you? Did I drag you in? No. All I had to do was offer you a drink. It's hard to believe that the fear of offending can be stronger than the fear of pain. But you know what? It is."
You can watch the clip on YouTube (It starts around the one minute mark).
I think this happens every day to all of us, a neighbor shouts something seemingly funny at you, and you smile and nod and say something like "haha yeah sure". And ten seconds later you realize what they said wasn't funny at all, or maybe even offensive. You automatically did the socially acceptable thing.
Often this is fine. It's nice to be polite and be instinctually conflict-avoiding, but sometimes it can lead to unwanted results, or death, as in the case of the movie. At one of my first jobs I remember wondering "what is expected from me?" much more than "how can I be productive?". It takes a while to adjust and realize you can break free of the social norm and some people never do.
It can't hurt to pause a moment the next time someone makes a joke and expects you to laugh. Take a moment to appreciate what they said. Think about whether this joke is actually worth laughing about. Then either laugh or don't. What is the worst that can happen, apart from some awkwardness? Give it a try and let me know if it worked out.
And certainly, don't follow the killer into his house for a drink.
One more thing. Last Tuesday we opened our ticket shop for 60 minutes for the 2-for-1 flash sale for our upcoming TNW2019 event. In short, we broke all previous records (by 38%). Thank you all for jumping on it, and looking forward to seeing you in May.
In case you missed this one, don't worry, in two weeks we'll do one more flash sale. Leave your email address here and get notified on time to grab that opportunity.
Want to see us sooner? I just booked my flights and hotel, I'm staying in citizenM Tower of London for my trip to Hard Fork Decentralized this December. There we'll look into our decentralized future with leaders and experts in the blockchain space. If you're interested in how blockchain can have an impact on your business, check out the event and join me in London.
Boris Veldhuijzen van Zanten is een serial internet entrepreneur en is oprichter en eigenaar van The Next Web, een techmediabedrijf dat zich focust op Generation T; de generatie met een groeiende interesse in technologie. Voor The Next Web schrijft Boris wekelijks een blog die tevens wordt gepubliceerd op Marketing Report.
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12-10-2018: [Column] Boris Veldhuijzen van Zanten: Sit on the ledge and enjoy the view
05-10-2018: [Column] Boris Veldhuijzen van Zanten: I hope I never get rich
28-09-2018: [Column] Boris Veldhuijzen van Zanten: Ceci n'est pas une A/B test
21-09-2018: [Column] Boris Veldhuijzen van Zanten: Impatient patience
14-09-2018: [Column] Boris Veldhuijzen van Zanten: People
07-09-2018: [Column] Boris Veldhuijzen van Zanten: The hard part about decisions
31-08-2018: [Column] Boris Veldhuijzen van Zanten: Why are you picking up your phone?
24-08-2018: [Column] Boris Veldhuijzen van Zanten: How many steps until the end of the world?
20-08-2018: [Column] Boris Veldhuijzen van Zanten: What is your story?
23-07-2018: [Column] Boris Veldhuijzen van Zanten: Stop talking about failure