top of page

Why Do We So Often Treat Strangers Better Than Those Closest to Us?

Lately, I have become very aware of how much easier it is for us to say “no” to a loved one as opposed to a stranger, easier to be mean, get frustrated, and act in anger. Why are we so polite to strangers and less so to our loved ones? Why is our tolerance so limited with the ones closest to us?

Here’s the thing, most strangers don’t warrant strong emotions. What you normally get from strangers is politeness or general annoyance in face to face communication. They may not get the kind of negativity we push onto our loved ones, but they also don't get the strong love we give to them either. Just because we care for our loved ones, doesn’t mean we can expect them to be amenable all the time.

Think about it, we smile, and say hello, and compliment strangers freely. When our acquaintances or co-workers ask for something, we are more likely to do it. Sure, sometimes we run into a$$holes but it is easy to give them the benefit of the doubt that they are just having a bad day. For example, how often do you use the words please and thank you with your loved ones? Yet with strangers, sorry, excuse me, thank you and please are the most used words...sometimes the only words.

With our loved ones, we lose our patience much quicker and don’t even try to pause to realize that we are about to snap and say unkind things. We don’t take enough time to love and nurture because “they will be here tomorrow.” We are too blunt at times, which comes out rude and hurtful. We worry more about the things that we have to get done than the relationships and connections that we should be cherishing. And when was the last time you actually listened instead of multitasking? We feel entitled, as if they owe us something. We get frustrated when we don’t get our way. Yet, we would never act like that with a stranger.

So why, way too often do we treat strangers better than the people we love? I'll tell you why - because they cannot see the real us, the “us” that our loved ones see. Only those closest to us see our true colors. And since it is impossible for strangers to see our real selves in a short period of time (during an interaction), we come off nicer. Whereas with family and friends, we are not as tolerant. They know the real us and it’s not always smiles and happy faces.

Strangers are not concerned with our shortcomings either. The limited interaction we have with them doesn’t give them time to be concerned. Our family, chosen or by blood, see us at our best and our worst. The joy of being home with our loved ones is that we don’t need to pretend. Family is obligated to listen to and tolerate each other unconditionally.

We know that our family’s love is unconditional no matter how we treat them. There is an expectation that they will endure our attitudes and even outbursts. This is human nature, but it doesn't have to be the norm. We should endeavor to be kindest to those closest to us. After all, they will be the ones supporting us when the going gets tough, not strangers. So, let’s remember to be nicer to those closest to us, never take them for granted and keep in mind that a little patience and tolerance goes a long way.

Edited by lovely: Marianna Golyak and Megan McCrorey

Image by: murkatphoto

#strangers #stranger #love #family #friends #nice #unconditionnal #humannature

Featured Posts
Recent Posts