The Accommodation Trap: When Extending a Courtesy Goes Awry
Conceived by Anthonism
(also known as: accommodation contest)
Description: When 2 or more people, being overly polite, get caught in an endless loop of attempts to extend a courtesy towards each other until the accommodating act at hand is never achieved or at least one of the persons involved have become frustrated by the stalemate and begrudgingly concedes. Overshadowing the original kind gesture, these fruitless scenarios usually end up wasting time, energy, and/or resources. Also, due to the fact that one's good deed is becoming undone, whomever was on the "losing" side of the accommodation contest may suffer a damaging blow in their quest to revive random acts of kindness.
Kind Sir: Madam, after you.
Fair Maiden: My lord, please, after you.
Kind Sir: No, no, no, my lady, it'll be my privilege
Fair Maiden: I am honored, but surely you jest. The privilege is all mine.
Kind Sir: On the contrary, my dear, you are mistaken. Ladies first.
Fair Maiden: Nay, I insist sire, 'tis age before beauty.
Kind Sir: Say what, girlfriend? You betta get to steppin' through this door so the 1,000 people now stuck behind us can get on wit' it or you be gettin' Mah Damn foot in yo' ass!
Fair Maiden: Psh! Like, whatevs.
Explanation: If gestures like these make it past the third attempt, it has gone on way too long. In reality, Fair Maiden should have just gone through the door after Kind Sir made the initial gesture. However, a single counteroffer is acceptable and still considered polite, but when Kind Sir refused her counteroffer, she should've just moved on and they both would've lived happily ever after.
Exception: If you know the person very well, and; you know they are timid or shy, and require an extra little nudge to accept courtesies with grace; or, you know they are using this selfless act for their own selfish motives; or, you're trying to annoy the hell out of a good friend.
Tip: Just make it a practice to accept—or gracefully reject—someone's kind gesture on the initial offer and as thanks, at some point in the near future, pay them back with the same courtesy. It's so much sweeter that way.
Sidebar: Men, against all odds, keep chivalry alive! Don’t stop opening doors for women altogether because many of them fail to say, “Thank you.” Instead, imprint the face of the ungrateful woman in your photographic memory and store it in the I will never open a door for YOU again box in your brain. Or, send a picture of her to Man’s Marbles and we’ll publish the thankless lady.
At the start of the shift, you buy a dozen doughnuts for you and 5 co-workers to snack on throughout the morning before lunch. Everyone grabs their favorite and goes about their business. As time goes by, you see everyone checking the doughnut box and closing it empty-handed, but you think nothing of it. After lunch, you see the box sitting there. You see people open and close the box. On your way out the door to go home, yes, the box is still there. The following morning, you arrive to work and watch the cute little mice eating the newly formed sugar cookie.
Explanation: Waste not, want not. What is the point of everyone saving that last doughnut for someone who may want it? It doesn't make sense, and, in fact, in some scenarios it is considered rude or even offensive. Get it over with, you're not doing anyone any favors. Just eat the last one and throw the empty box away.
Exception: If you know that someone hasn't had a chance to grab a bite of your tasty snacks, then waiting a reasonable amount of time for them to scavenge the rest of the food, or reminding them that one last delectable morsel is still available is warranted.
Tip #1: If you're going to waste grandma's home baked rock cookies, at least shove them in the couch cushions "for later" so she is thoroughly pleased that everyone loved them so much that not a crumb was leftover.
Tip #2: Don't hide them too soon or she'll think she didn't make enough and will begin ruining more cookies!