I was just putting the finishing touches on an entirely other piece I was going to do for this Monday’s "Miss Mingle Blogs," when I discovered to my dismay that a friend and colleague was writing almost the exact same thing--and had even come up with the same title! What could I do? It’s not that surprising really, we are all fed by the same sources--Facebook, The New York Times, TV, Twitter. Original ideas are few and far between. After a moment (okay maybe two) of hesitation I took the high road and left the piece for my friend, though it left me high and dry.
But it got me thinking about all those times when you make a bee line for a seat at the movies (or a taxi) and suddenly find that your rear end and the rear end of a stranger are both trying to occupy the space. Or when you and your dinner companion both decide you just must have the soft shell crab special before the waiter informs you there is only one order left. Or the momentary confusion two people experience in the grocery store when they are both reaching for the same last loaf of pumpernickel.
Obviously, if the thing in question is not sharable, you should always try to let the other person have it--especially if it is a friend. This may not be so easy, because whether it’s a creative idea or a piece of fruit, we tend to feel ownership over something we have chosen; we feel invested in some way. But yielding is the noble act of an enlightened human and will end up making you feel better. (Unless of course doing so involves the loss of a lot of money or it will hurt your career and then I am afraid the gloves are off, and may the best man win.) You never know, you may find the other person fighting with you to let you have it--as when two people argue over the check at dinner.
Of course, you can always try to find a way to capitalize on your loss--for example, by using it as the subject of a blog.