Pushing People’s Buttons

Picture this true story: I’m standing in line at Tim Hortons waiting to order my morning coffee. I notice the woman in front of me has a number of buttons attached to her purse. Being the goof that I am, I start gently pressing each of the buttons on her purse. “Look, I’m pushing your buttons,” I say, hoping to get a laugh.

I do not get a laugh.

Instead, she backs away from me and says something about social phobia. I feel terrible. I had unknowingly upset her by knowingly pushing her buttons.

People like to provoke others. My daughter knows how to push my buttons. My son knows how to push my buttons. Even my dog knows how to push my buttons! I’m sure they do it on purpose. They want to get a reaction. They want to irritate me. They want to make me squirm.

And I’m sure I’ve done the same with others, but my interaction with the woman with the buttoned purse clearly highlighted a truth I had known but forgotten: Don’t push people’s buttons on purpose.