When nice people say horrible things

It’s Wednesday afternoon and you bump into Sandra from accounts in the corridor. You've always had a soft spot for Sandra, warm and mumsy she is a kindred spirit, a nice person, whom you can count on in a corridor-meet to fulfil those short moments with normal chat.

She just came back from holiday, you catch up about the city she went to, one of your all time favourite places. A minute has zoomed by and you happily relive your own holiday experiences from earlier in the year, the fond memories making you feel happy and safe in that corridor. Then it happens. She drops the bomb. The bomb of saying something shitty. Something you don’t agree with. Something that morally is wrong, and now you can’t be friends.

Sandra: ‘What really blighted it for me was all the homeless people, lots more than here my husband and I both thought.’

You: ‘Well yes, there are a lot, so sad isn’t it — always makes me feel like a terrible human when I see such unfortunate people especially when I am on holiday, and even more so when I am on an expensive holiday. I feel guilty.’

Sandra: ‘But most of those people have chosen that life haven’t they.’

You (in your head):WHAT.

Sandra: ‘Didn’t you read that story about that immigrant who begged on the street and earned £3k a day whilst living in a mansion. They are all at it.’

You (in your head):WTAF.

You tell Sandra she is so wrong it is almost hilarious, that homeless people don’t choose to live on the street, that a series of unfortunate circumstances have led those people to that horrible situation, and that actually we are all just a few steps away from it being our reality. And they need compassion not judgement, or our pity.

But no, hang on, you don’t say anything. You nod, mumble and carry on to your original destination of the toilet cubicle. You don’t say anything to the warm, mumsy Sandra. Good old Sandra she is great, you like her because she is a nice person, and when she says something horrible you don’t say anything back, because you are a coward. You aren’t friends with Sandra any more (in your head), she hasn’t got the memo of course.