A Big Issue: Allow People to Be Impressed

Reading time: 2 minutes

Then, they asked me if I drove here. A question I have come to expect, or something like it, in all first conversations.

I tell the truth, that I did drive here, and that I can drive. The response is some form of praise.

I was once in a facebook group of people in wheelchairs, which could be useful for you, and most people in the group are optimistic. A few times when going through posts, I would see people complaining about others being easily impressed with them.

If you’re reading this and get irritated by heaps of compliments for mundane tasks, keep reading.

I can understand the perspective, which is getting irritated that people assume so little of those in wheelchairs that the slightest show of independence is a phenomenon.

That’s wrong. It could be an accurate description of the spectator’s perspective, that they assume little, and actions like opening a door are impressive. Getting insulted by that is a true lack of wisdom, thinking beyond the ego, or basic empathy – pick one.

The truth, or closer to it, is that the person who is impressed is, first, expressing their respect and admiration, which should be reciprocated with gratitude.

Second, it’s not necessarily that people’s premonition is that you can’t drive on your own, but they don’t suspect they could. It’s also possible that they know someone in a wheelchair who sulks and does literally nothing, which would have you opening a door seem revolutionary.

It’s all about being capable of understanding other’s perspective. It’s not easy to do, and if you can’t or don’t care to do it, at least don’t get mad about a compliment (and then complain online for me to see).


Immediate actionable items: Go give three genuine compliments.

Summary: I’ve read complaints from people in wheelchairs about getting complimented on being able to do little things. I understand why they get frustrated, but it’s not right because they’re only considering their own perspective.

Overdeliver:  To better understand other’s perspective, which is empathy, read some books about psychology. I’m sure there’s a book about perspectives somewhere.

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