Recently while I was at the gym, a very fit young man fell off a treadmill and hit his head on a wall. I didn’t see him fall or hit his head, but I did notice he had fallen and wasn’t getting up. By the time I got my treadmill to pause and went over to check on him, several people were standing over him, asking him if he was okay.
As the sea of people grew, nobody was doing much to help him. He was lying face down, so I asked him if he was able to sit up. He crouched instead, so I asked him to sit on the edge of the treadmill, which he did. One woman took his pulse. I asked him if he had any water and he said no, so another woman grabbed her bottle of water and gave it to him. I asked one man to alert the staff to call 911. A couple of people who saw what was happening went to tell the staff that the man needed help.
When I first asked the man to sit on the treadmill, the woman on the treadmill directly beside him told me he hit his head hard when he fell. She continued her walk on the treadmill as she told me this, never getting off to help the man, even after he hit his head. Several other people close by also watched from their gym equipment and continued their workouts, but never stopped to help.
This caused me to wonder what made some people stop what they were doing to help this man while others continued what they were doing. I know from some of the classes I took for my psychology degree as well as my own personal experience that some people are watchers and some people are doers. There is nothing wrong with being a watcher instead of a doer. And there is nothing wrong with being a doer instead of a watcher. But I started thinking about the pros and cons of both sides.
Pros of being a Doer
*You act quickly.
*You get things done.
*You help others in need.
*You are usually proactive.
*You tend to act in times of crisis.
Pros of being a Watcher
*You stay out of other people’s way.
*You observe things that doers may not notice.
*You offer helpful information from your observations.
*You don’t immediately jump to conclusions based on what you think you know.
So there are benefits to being both a doer and a watcher. But where there are positives, there are usually negatives.
Cons of being a Doer
*May act quickly before having all the necessary information.
*Others may think you are being pushy or bossy.
*May not make the best decisions due to your rush to act, even though your intentions are probably wonderful.
*May have a hard time seeing beyond the immediate situation or moment.
Cons of being a Watcher
*May overthink things and never take action
*May feel isolated or lonely due to staying on the sidelines
*May be perceived as aloof or uncaring when you’re actually trying to process what is happening.
Doers tend to be extroverted and watchers tend to be introverted. This is not always the case, but it is the tendency. We never know what a person’s life experience has brought them, but I can assure you that everyone has reasons, whether conscious or subconscious, for their doer or watcher behaviors. Everyone has a history.
Back to the gym: After 2 gym staff members came to help the man, they asked me what happened, and I told them everything I knew. Most of the onlookers had dispersed by then and resumed their workouts. Once the man was in the care of the gym staff, I headed back to my treadmill. A lady told me that I did a nice job of taking care of the situation. I must admit I was surprised by her comment. In my mind, it was the right thing to do and my actions were pretty much second nature. After all, I just wanted to make sure the man was okay. But as I thought about her comment later, I realized my actions are not second nature to everyone. Thus, this blog post. :o)
I am happy to say that the man from the gym seemed to be okay after the EMT’s arrived and checked him out. He got up at 6 am and had not eaten anything that morning. This incident happened just before 10 am. He also didn’t have water with him, as I stated earlier. As I was leaving the gym, he was sitting in the lobby with a Powerade, so I asked him how he was feeling and how he was getting home. He said he was feeling better and that the friend he came to the gym with was driving him home. I wished him well, filled out a witness report of the incident for the gym, and left.
Thinking about times in my life when I’ve jumped in and allowed my doer tendencies to take over, I realize that my well-intentioned efforts to help were not always appreciated or understood. Sometimes people have perceived my actions as controlling, which was never my intention. As an emotional, intuitive, feelings-based person, this always hurts. I have a sister-in-law who is introverted and is definitely a watcher, and she has told me that people think she is withdrawn or uncaring because she tends to stay quiet and assess situations before she is comfortable with interacting. She says this hurts her as well. We all hurt when people judge us.
So the next time you interact with someone who is a doer, remember they usually just want to help. And the next time you interact with someone who is a watcher, remember that they need time to process things and they can offer valuable insights we doers might miss at first.
Are you a doer or a watcher? Please share below in the comments. What items would you add to any of the 4 lists above? Share in the comments!
Your Gentle Nudge: If you are a doer, what can you learn from watchers? If you’re a watcher, what can you learn from doers? How can what you learn from the other group help you achieve your goals? Do you need to observe more or act more?