The Danger of Treating People as a Profit-Loss Calculation

Aliza Rosenfelder
2 min readNov 25, 2023
Photo by Jernej Graj on Unsplash

In life, there are some people who spark as much joy as a hangover on Monday morning.

However, what makes some people truly annoying?

For me, pet peeves include:

1. People who treat conversation as a monologue not a dialogue

2. Forgetting basic politeness including please, thank you and how are you.

3. Those without musical ability who sing/play cello for a captive/captured audience.

Still, perhaps the most annoying trait of all is when you meet someone, and they are transparently calculating how useful you are.

It’s inevitable that we want to network and take advantage of opportunities in this world but there’s a certain type of person that just leaves you feeling…slimy.

My most pronounced memories of this are as a little girl as, like Einstein, I had a speech delay.

Looking back, though it was incredibly stressful for my parents — it was a huge gift to me.

For a long time, my experience of the world was just observing others.

People pay thousands to disconnect from the constant chatter that surrounds us, be that through silent retreats or gap years, and that was my daily reality as a 4–6-year-old little girl.

Without the ability to reply, I felt the relationship between how people treat you and your perceived position in the social hierarchy deeply.

I saw early on the difference between adults’ compassionate public personas and the private glee they took in encouraging the social exclusion of anyone perceived as weak or different.

My experience as a child prepared me well for the complexities of being an adult.

Apologies to any employees of Ellen DeGeneres, James Corden or Drew Barrymore who feel triggered by this.

Yet, if it’s of any comfort, I believe those who spend their lives affirming themselves by putting others down end up in a strange spiral where nothing is ever good enough.

When even Russian oligarchs complain their neighbour’s yachts are bigger than theirs, you get a sense they may have lost perspective.

If you only like your house, car, or wife because you think other people value it — is that the recipe for a happy life?