DON’T TOUCH THAT PLATE!
By Doris AC Johnson MA of Psy, ABA
I heard it said recently and it touched my core. I think about all the times I broke out the crystal glasses, fine China, expensive wine, napkins folded like swans, limited edition stainless-steel utensils, to cut scrumptious steaks crowded by roasted red skin potatoes not realizing that all I needed to offer up was red plastic cups, paper plates, grape Kool-Aid, plastic forks, hot dogs, with no named napkins. Foolishly or unknowingly, I was feeding people full meals that were only stopping by for a snack.
Let me explain…My intentions were good as gold. I was hopeful and optimistic. My expectations…I assumed they would reciprocate. And I wasn’t being unreasonable. There they were sitting at my marble dining room table when they would have been satisfied sitting in the yard on folding chairs.
All they were willing to offer up was poison that I mistook for passion. Let us be clear and fair…people who aren’t willing to stay for the entire meal are not necessarily the villain here. We could have misread the signs or ignored the signs and red flags but insisted on getting on the ride anyway. Guilty!
You must be careful and conscious of the company you attract, and the company you allow inside and make them comfortable. And then we have those people that like to sit and chat for a while because it’s free. Coffee, a cup of tea, a glass of lemonade. In fact, you are practically giving them parts that they will only chew and spit out. Don’t bring the plate with a towel resting over the top of your forearm to someone who refuses to remove their overcoat. Even a butler knows when to back up and off. Strangely, we are cognizant of the short end of the stick they are about to give us, but our need to feed won’t die. Metaphorically speaking, we overcompensate for whatever reason. We want the company at any cost. We want to appear a certain way. But we would be better off eating all our own good food and sending them to Burger King for a four for four or McDonalds and order from the extra value menu.
The point is this…keep your eyes your ears open to people’s intentions. You know the saying when a person tells you who they are…listen…believe them. A clown is a clown is a clown IS a clown. And that’s ok for them. Your responsibility…my responsibility is to present ourselves in a way to deter them from assuming we are a circus waiting for them to use us…i.e., eat off our full loving plate. If you recognize them as they approach your door, feed them, but you get the benefit because you deserve it. If that situation will not feel you up…doesn’t sustain, then hide the plate. That is it and that is all!