Now let me add another side to this particular image.
Certainly, when someone is being inappropriate, mean, rude, or belittling, you need not listen, unless it is your duty to do so. If it is your duty, then, as a Contact Professional, you should be well trained in Conflict Communication.
The point, however, is to not let others steal or otherwise overwhelm your own peace of mind. And to not let them cause you harm, emotionally, physically, or otherwise.
This same ethic of self-protection ought to, however, apply equally to others. If you see someone being inappropriate, mean, rude, belittling, or worse, to others, it is a potential opportunity to ethically intervene to stop it. Use your best judgment. Be wise about it.
The issue, though, is that we’re not having way too much unwise ethical intervention going on, such as the well-intentioned monkey who grabs the fish out of the water because he thinks she is drowning. No, it’s the opposite; we have way too many instances of people walking about planet earth addicted to what’s happening in their own heads while they (literally) walk past people being belittled, bullied, shoved around (emotionally or physically), and worse.
We can do so much better! We can be always on the lookout for, and ready to respond to, what manifests in our presence. If you’re unsure of how to ethically intervene, train yourself. Fundamentally, though, besides any kind of special tool belt, it is about holding an active (i.e., about which you’re consciously aware every day) ethic of not letting wrong-doing occur in your presence without some kind of useful and ethical action done by you. Note some kind. If all you can do is yell for help or dial 911, then so be it. However, you’ll likely be able to do much more. And frankly, for much wrong-doing, for it to be effectively stopped, immediate intervention is required.
Yes, you can dial 911 and then wait. So-called First Responders will arrive at some point. Remember, though, that you are THE First Responder. You are already there. When Police or EMS arrive, they will pick up the pieces and document the tragedy. For them, however, the moment of opportunity for ethical intervention and ethical protection has already passed. There was only one person who could have helped in that moment of opportunity. That was you.
Just stopping what you’re doing (put your phone away), paying attention, and calling it out is, in itself, an ethical intervention that can do wonders. This is what is conspicuously absent in our world today (with some notable exceptions). Do something to help!
Let’s become better, more useful, human beings by (among other things) being Helpers to all Others.