The Blame Game

I just read online that the first Friday the 13th of the year (this week!!) is known as Blame Someone Else Day. As if the reputation of unlucky-ness wasn’t enough to have people on their toes about a regular old Friday the 13th! Personally, I don’t believe in bad luck. A little dumb luck, happy coincidences, winning something – those are fun, but bad luck never resonated. HOWEVER, relevant to Friday, I definitely believe in this: it’s super easy to blame ANYONE ELSE for our problems, and the awful or even just annoying things that happen to us.

Am I right?

Think about it. It happens in everyday, knee-jerk reaction ways like, ‘it’s the waiter’s fault I spilled my coffee, why was the cup so full?’ or ‘I’m running late because of the slow driver in front of me!’ In relationships, it can be over messes and spills, forgotten appointments for kids, pets getting into garbage left out accidentally. And what about companies that have a culture of blame: ‘I couldn’t because they didn’t and so it’s not my fault it’s not done.’

So easy, right? There are endless large and small ways to quickly spread blame around, and it seems so much harder to just brush some stuff off as just unintentional oversights or mistakes. You know what’s even more difficult?  Taking responsibility for what went down.

Of course, sometimes it’s just a fact that you couldn’t get your thing done because you were waiting for someone else to do their part. And sometimes even your diligence in following up with that person results in no meaningful outcome. And sometimes, things happen, like your alarm doesn’t go off and you’re starting the day off running late.  But, I’m still not sure what blaming gets you. In fact, I wonder if drilling into justifying (often used as a synonym for blaming) creates a domino effect of drama and frazzled-ness that’s not a recipe for success or fun.

So in honor of Blame Someone Else Day, I vote we use it as an exercise to simply notice in yourself when you have an impulse to point the finger at someone else and spread responsibility around. I think you’ll be amazed at how easily the switch flips to finger pointing even in the tiniest ways. Once you notice what’s happening, you get the opportunity to ask yourself if it’s warranted. Regardless of the answer, you’ll get the choice of deciding whether your day gets hijacked and everything flows from that blasted alarm clock(for example) or whether you can take a moment to reset. Sit quietly. Breathe deeply. Do some jumping jacks! Something to shift, drop the blame game and get your day back on track.

And for the musical buffs, click the link below to enjoy some fun with blaming:

“Your Fault”


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4 thoughts on “The Blame Game

  1. Esther says:

    Thanks for the proverbial sugar that helps the medicine go down — which is, that if we’re honest with ourselves, there’s often an opportunity for each of us to recognize our role in the outcome and what we mightdo differently next time. So perhaps my initial impulse to print a copy of this blog and leave it, say, on a particular colleague’s desk for him/her to read may not be as altruistic as I originally thought… guess I’m a quick-study! Jumping jacks it is then… 😛

    • shosh says:

      HA! I hear you Esther, so easy to point fingers, so hard to own our part in the deal. Jumping Jacks for both of us 🙂

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