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By Paul Mallott BA (Hons) Counselling Dip CBT
Recently I read a book by David D. Burns, M.D. 'Feeling Good'. I was reminded today of a particular story he described. Briefly the author told a story of a gentleman who in a restaurant when he had finished his glass of wine, he noticed the waiter continually topping up other's glasses on his table with wine, but completely kept missing him out.   The man kept thinking to himself that the waiter was rude and deliberately ignoring him, he was getting frustrated, a result of which his mind began to run amuck with reasons why he was being ignored, such as the waiter did not like him etc.
Finally he confronted the waiter and asked him why he had a problem with him? Seemingly ignoring him, when refilling other's glasses of wine at the table, and not his glass. The waiter explained, “I am terribly sorry sir, I had an argument with my girlfriend today, and my mind was elsewhere, so please accept my apologies”. The situation was resolved.

This leads me nicely on to my own experience. My next-door neighbour was chatting with me today, about how another neighbour, who had recently moved into the street was very "ignorant". My Neighbour explained, whenever she drove past this person who was walking her dog, she acknowledged her, by waving, yet the neighbour returned no such gesture, but merely put her head down and appeared to ignore her, and furthermore, whenever she was walking past her or stood in her garden, she would acknowledge her by saying hello, yet again there would be no response.
I had myself experienced the same, but thought nothing of it, and needless to say the only comment I made was perhaps she had not seen you, even though thinking to myself, her points had some merit.
Later on in the afternoon, I was putting out the rubbish, and this neighbour was walking toward me, with her dog. I said to her, “What a beautiful dog, it must take some looking after, to keep it looking so healthy?" Well that was all it took, the lady erupted into conversation, and kept me talking for half an hour. During the course of the conversation she explained that she worked shifts, from 7pm till 1am with learning disability children, and was often exhausted in the morning, but found it hard to sleep, so she would take her dog for a walk, and be oblivious to the world around her, as it was often like walking in her sleep.
She then went on to say, she often saw the other neighbours, and would hear them say something, but whatever they said did not register as she thought they were talking to someone else, and not her. Well that brings me to the end of my thoughts today only to say the old adage “Never judge a book by its cover”.

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