Why didn’t you just park tighter??!!

You know the feeling. Town is full and you have already been around it twice searching for a parking spot. Suddenly, out of the corner of your eye on the side of the street a possibility appears. Hallelujah!

Until you realise that there isn’t quite enough room for even your modest vehicle to squeeze in.

And as you look at the wasted space in between the parked cars you silently curse them, thinking that if only a few of them had parked a little bit closer to each other there would be room for you. And you only want to leave the car for 10 mins!

But that’s not the full picture of course.

When I arrive on the scene, let’s say for example that Car A is parked 3/4 of a car length from Car B, which in turn is another 3/4 of a car length from Car C. Neither space big enough for me. So I’m angry, and turn my ire on Car B here, thinking if it had parked closer (1/4 of a car length for example) to Car C, there would then be 1 1/4 car lengths between Car A and Car B – plenty of room for me to park. And so 4 cars could easily fit in the space currently taken by 3.

But when Car B parked, we don’t know if Car A or Car C were even there at the time. Maybe when she parked she was bumper to bumper either side of Cars D and E and did incredibly well to fit in at all. Car D and E headed off then, leaving Car B in situ and so perhaps it’s Car A or Car C who made inefficient use of the space.

Or perhaps Car A is the car of a musician, loading in for a gig, and so deliberately left ample room between itself and Car B so as the gear wouldn’t damage it on the way out of the boot.

My point? We often attribute blame to others when it’s not actually their fault. Research shows that we often under-emphasise situational explanations for an individual’s observed behaviour while over-emphasising dispositional and personality-based explanations for the same behaviour.

Or when we do something it’s because outside factors made us do it. But when others do the same thing it’s because well…they are just that type of person aren’t they?

Maybe it’s best to stay away from blame altogether and focus more on what you might do differently next time.

Photo by David Martin on Unsplash.