Walter Jacobson, M.D.

Walter Jacobson, M.D.

Posted August 18, 2010

Published in Lifestyle

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Flight Attendant "Heroics" and Our Personal Relationships

Read More: forgiveness, Jet Blue, relationships, self-help, trust

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There was an article in the paper yesterday that the Jet Blue flight attendant is now being represented for television projects and that he now has 25 offers for reality TV shows.

This is not surprising but it is extremely disturbing because it sends society the message that if you act out and are selfish, reckless and impulsive, you, too, can become rich and famous.

When we elevate bad behavior to heroic status and make celebrities out of people with poor judgment and poor impulse control, we are essentially fiddling while Rome burns.

The more we reinforce and reward people like this, the more we are reinforcing and encouraging bad behavior, copycat behavior, and any reckless indulgence that anyone might wish to entertain.

It actually isn't much of a leap from this guy grabbing two beers and engaging the emergency chute on the plane in order to "stick it to the man" to a terrorist blowing up a bus to demonstrate that he is frustrated and angry, and he's not going to take it anymore. It's all a continuum of bad behavior. It's all a matter of degrees.

So what does this tell us about our personal relationships?

It's not uncommon for people to be attracted to people like this man who are bold and outrageous. And it's not uncommon for people to develop relationships with them. Unfortunately, this is very short-sighted because these people are not responsible. They will not, in the long run, sustain a meaningful relationship because they are selfish, inconsiderate and self-centered.

Sooner or later, we will become collateral damage of their aggressive and impulsive foolishness. Sooner or later, they will fail us and disappoint us, whether they create melodrama and chaos in their lives and draw us into it, or eventually seek greener pastures when they need the next high, and leave us in the dust.

Bottom line: It behooves us to look before we leap into relationships with people of this nature. It behooves us to reserve our enthusiasm and applause for people who take center stage by behaving in ways which are responsible and not criminal. If we don't, we are doomed to follow these people down the black holes they are ultimately headed.