I find it amusing, the number of people who will fly off the handle for any silly, little thing they perceive as an injustice done to them or theirs. I will admit that occasionally I will have a knee jerk reaction to do the same when people slight me , but for the most part my philosophy in life is the old saying, “Give ‘em enough rope, and they’ll hang themselves.”
I’ve had many friends that I literally had to hold back from flying off that handle. It can be exhausting. One friend I eventually lost. I tried for years, but I could not hold her back any longer, and she was angry that I wouldn’t fly off with her. I told her, “You’ve got to pick your battles, and this one isn’t worth fighting.” She did not agree. Sometimes, you’ve gotta just let go and say, “Fine, take the damn rope.”
I recently met a fellow who I can’t imagine winning any of his battles, he is so quick to fly off the handle. He can’t seem to get enough rope. Any little thing sets him off. The funny thing is, he is a counselor. I’m not sure where his expertise is focused, but I’m going to guess it’s not anger management. He reminds me of Henry Sikorsky (played brilliantly by Christopher Lloyd) in The Dream Team. Henry marches around the halls of a nut house dressed in a white doctor’s coat, telling patients where they should be, and what they should be doing. He is trying to get people to group therapy. When therapy starts, you learn that Henry is not a doctor, he is in fact a patient. Anyway, this counselor friend reminds me of Henry. You can’t quite believe he’s what he claims to be. He’s just too nutty, and he hangs himself almost daily.
Of course, rope isn’t just handy for those who are quick to fly off the handle. It can be given to those who think too much of themselves, those who think too little of themselves (I try to avoid that because it’s just mean), those who like to belittle others, and those who are just plain stupid, but think otherwise. The list is really very long and I could add to it all day, but I will keep it short.
Part of the fun of being a giver of rope, is watching how different people take it. Some you have to force it on (this rarely happens- most ask); some take it gladly, as though it is a lifeline; others sneak up and steal it when they think you’re not looking (my counselor friend would be in this group). I’ve given so much rope over the years, that I should be a rope maker by profession.
Technically, being a giver of rope would be considered passive aggressive behavior I suppose. I prefer to think of it as being laid back and easy going. I guess it depends on whether or not you force rope on people or just have it available for those who want/need it.
In the end, I think most of humanity can be broken down into two groups: those who give rope and those who take it. Maybe people are not so easily categorized, but it’s certainly an interesting way of looking at the world. All givers will inevitably hang themselves at some point, but usually just the one time. Someday, someone will hand me a piece of rope, and I will gladly take it and swing along side all those I’ve helped hang. It will be good to see my friend there, I miss her. For now, I have learned to look for fellow givers to befriend. It just makes life easier.