Should and Shall
Based upon Webster’s dictionary are a command, law, regulation, inevitable, expectation, determination, obligation, propriety or to soften a direct statement. Shouldn’t merely is should with ‘not’ attached, in other words, a command NOT to, a law Not to, etc. So, what is the big deal? I know that there are things that I
should do and there are things that I shouldn’t do, but WHY is the BIG question. Many times, it is under a moral obligation that I should or shouldn’t do something, and this is a good reason. What would be a lousy reason not to do something? I would say if you do or do not do something due to a feeling of guilt or duty. We should do things because we feel they are the right thing to do; it agrees with our moral compass. We shouldn’t do something because we feel obligated to do it.
In my opinion, doing something for that reason is not fair to the person or purpose at hand. Unless we can do something with our full heart, then why do it at all? I am not talking about obeying laws and rules that are meant for our protection or other’s protection. I’m talking the more gray areas like going to an event that we honestly do not want to go to or visiting friends out of obligation, not out of true friendship. This may sound selfish, but I believe that we do ourselves and others a disservice if the reasons for our acceptance or denial of the event are out of the wrong motivation. We need to be honest with ourselves and the people making the request. This is the only way that we will truly build meaningful and honest relationships.
Growing up, I heard a whole lot of should and shouldn’t statements. Many of these reasons were for my good, but many of them looking back, was to be socially polite. As adults, we have the option to opt out if it does not fit within our schedule or if we are not interested. The key is to reply with honesty, “I’m sorry, I will not be able to attend your event.” You don’t have to go any further if you do not wish but at least RSVP. Not replying is rude. If asked why you will not attend, then be as honest and courteous as possible. The person asking deserves an honest answer, and you deserve the respect of the other person for your reasons that you do not wish to attend.
I’m going to try and be as honest as possible the next time I have the should or shouldn’t question facing me. I want meaningful relationships. I want to be honest with my friends, and I want them to be honest with me. Anything other than that is a pseudo-relationship.