I have a love-hate relationship with social retards. If I have to work with them, they cause me a certain amount of stress and aggravation which can sometimes affect my on-the-job performance; but I also find them somewhat fascinating to the point where, later I will entertain friends with stories of the social retard (here on out, referred to as SR) and I will soon have people laughing, rolling their eyes and even commiserating, as they, too, work with their fair share of SRs.
SRs are severely lacking in people skills. They usually don’t have a lot of friends; any social time they spend is usually with family members, as that whole Unconditional Love thing comes into play. Regardless, I have no doubt that SRs cause even their closest family members a certain amount of exasperation.
The SRs I have worked with (past and present) are usually very hard workers and very competent. That is one good reason why they are able to hold onto their jobs. Except for the fact that they are usually complaining, bad-mouthing people behind their backs and even slamming stuff around, I would suffice it to say that SRs have a pretty good work ethic.
My on-the-job conflicts with SRs is that, at 55, I am less tolerant of their antics than I was back in my 20’s, 30’s and 40’s. I keep SRs at arm’s length, dealing with them only when it is part of my job. I refuse to get sucked up into their vortex of negativity, nastiness, shrillness (a defined characteristic of one I work with now), toxicity and immaturity (as in, acting like a spoiled brat anytime something doesn’t go their way).
That is where SRs get me into trouble, lierally, at times. With insecurity as their baseline, they get annoyed when people don’t tolerate their assholiness; and with passive-aggression a prominent trait, they will sometimes run to management with some other issue they have with you, disguised as something work-related, when really, you are just making their lives miserable by not kowtowing to their bullshit.
Again, I find SRs fascinating. We all have vices; we are all flawed in some way. But the typical SR lives in a bubble and thinks it’s the rest of the world that has a problem. Meanwhile, they keep spiraling, lashing out and then wondering why no one wants to associate with them. Some people feel sorry for SRs, and invite them, out of courtesy, to spend certain holidays with them.
I am not so virtuous, because even if I want to extend a kindly hand out to the SR, I refuse to subject my friends and family to the antics that will inevitably surface at some point during the occasion. It is up to me to protect myself and those I care about from the toxic SR.
Is there an SR in your life? How do you handle? People have offered up the old “Kill ’em with kindness” idiom, but I am not wired that way. With Anxiety as my alibi, I simply choose to disengage or “cloak up” — and then entertain my friends later.