Welcome to Episode 131 of the Sheep Dressed Like Wolves Podcast. In this episode I discuss the strange thing that can happen to our attitude when we sit in the driving seat of a car. What does it tell us about how we relate to one another more generally?
I explore ways in which we can intervene and engage in a gentle revolution of the road, developing more empathic connections with strangers.
What is it about being in a car that means you shout at people in ways you wouldn’t normally? What is it that turns the most unlikely placid people into rage-filled monsters? And how can we use this in every day life to understand and improve the way we interact with one another?
1. You Can’t See Them
You create a picture in your mind of others because they are represented within an anonymous capsule. There is no direct point of human connection. It is the same attitude that drives online trolls. They can’t experience the impact of their attitude in a direct way.
It then somehow becomes ok and justified to let rip and hurl abuse.
2. They Can’t Hear You
It’s easier to argue when you win by default. From a car it’s a pretty one way debate. You can say the most abusive, rude, insulting thing and never hear anything back. There are no consequences.
3. You are Always Right
Comedian George Carlin said in one of his shows: “Have you ever noticed that anybody driving slower than you is an idiot, and anyone going faster than you is a maniac?”
4. Even if You’re Wrong, They’re Wrong for Not Knowing You Know
The other day someone pulled out in front of me, causing me to brake quite hard. Rather than gesturing an apology, he scowled at me. It was like he was emulating the expression he was anticipating from me. It appeared that he was blaming me for causing him to be wrong, or he was instantly defensive, expecting me to have a go. I didn’t respond.
Let’s start a road revolution. Make a concerted effort to spread a positive attitude – be kind and gentle. Smile. Wave. Nod. In this episode of the show I expand on these 10 suggestions for doing so:
2. Say Thank You
3. Let People In/Out
5. Count to 10 When Encountering People Not Quite So Mature as You
6. Be Patient
7. Remember that Other People Have Hard Days Too
8. Look at Your Own Actions and Take Responsibility
9. Listen Out for Tone
10. Remember You’re Sharing the Road with Vehicles of All Shapes, Sizes, Ages, Experiences etc
Over to You
Are there any other places you get this same sense of separateness and lack of connection with the humanness of other people? Please leave your answer in the comments below.