I try to follow this law as much as possible, and have built some more specific rules based on the concept. I like to believe that in most situations I think, “Am I being (or will I be) a dick?” and then acting to ensure the answer is a definitive no.
Often that action is to just do nothing, or simply comply. It’s mostly the concept that if I have nothing good to say, I won’t say anything at all. Or maybe, “Better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to speak and to remove all doubt.” Generally, don’t get into it.
Because I sometimes feel that to help someone else be a dick I have to not be a dick. Or I suppose that in not being a dick I help someone else to be a dick.
The other day I was at a coffee shop for lunch. When I sat down, I sat at the only two person table left. While I was sitting, the two tables on either side of me emptied and then a group came in and asked me to move so they could have four seats together.
In my opinion, there weren’t four seats together, so there was nowhere for these people to go. That was a shame, but asking me to move and then moving two tables together was garbage. There’s nowhere for you to go, that’s too bad. It’s not my problem. But of course, to not be a dick, I moved. I let the server know that I was moving and that these tools were taking my table. I moved, it was fine.
Later, a larger group came in and started moving chairs around to sit at least seven around a four-person table. One of the chairs was the second at my table. From what I could tell, two more people were going to take the chairs from another two person table to put around this same now seven-, potentially nine-, person table. One of the servers had to stop them because the restaurant needed a table for two people.
The restaurant was full, there was no room for seven people. If you had asked for a table for seven, the answer would have been no or please wait. I should not have let them take my chair but that was me not being a dick.
I don’t want to be a dick, but I also don’t want to facilitate others being dicks. Not cool.