The problem: My friends and I were at a concert on a recent Saturday evening. The group sitting behind us was complaining about different aspects of the performance throughout the intermission. We thoroughly enjoyed the concert, as did other concertgoers (judging by the applause). Their petty complaints were really upsetting. I wanted to turn around and say something, but didn’t know how to handle it without making a scene. Can you imagine if families of the performers heard this?

Low road: Turn around and say with excitement, “I heard you discussing the performance. I’d love to introduce you to my spouse — the conductor — after the show!”


High road: It is jolting to find out that not everyone shares our views on things, from music to restaurants to child-rearing. But if you haven’t caught on yet to the sharp divides among those who inhabit our shared planet, it’s time you did. So, they didn’t like the performance. It shouldn’t take anything away from your enjoyment. Be grateful they weren’t complaining during the show or, worse, singing along enthusiastically to every tune. And keep in mind that robust applause might not be a completely honest reaction. I fear we’ve become a society that gives standing ovations to everyone and everything, including the fellow adjusting the mic (as important as that is). We no longer distinguish between the splendid and the very fine, the latter of which we have every right to expect from a seated position. So, say nothing. Your night was uplifting and exhilarating. The complainers likely went home feeling cheated. Let it go. But do avoid getting seated next to them when you’re at a nearby restaurant enjoying a post-concert dessert.


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