What Kind of Car Are You Driving?

Be it the placating whir of the engine or the views rushing by, long car rides breed thought and conversation. One day as my brother and I headed out on a drive, we broached the topic of dating, bonding over the successful, comical, and occasionally even horrendous dates that each of us had experienced. While we debated over some of the personality traits our plus-ones possessed that could make or break a date, we concurred on one dominating observation: our worst dates were spent with girls who only talked about themselves. We expanded upon this notion, agreeing that the least enjoyable interactions we ever had were with those who refused to even feign interest in their fellow conversationalists.

Jokingly, we compared this egocentric trait to the sound of a car engine. To get the full effect of what I am talking about, you have to use a little bit of imagination and some sound effects. As a car accelerates and changes gears, it sounds like this:

Meeeeee,

(shift from first to second gear)

Meeeeee,

(second gear to third)

Meeeeee,

(third to fourth)

Meeeeee.

And since it is not realistic for a car to only accelerate, one must downshift when the car is slowing or coming to a stop. That is when you get: Meeeeee, meeeeee, meeeeee, (Oh no! Time to downshift while the conversation switches to . . .), youuuuuu, (back to accelerating) meeeeee, meeeeee, and so on.

It is the self-interested, conversation-dominating people that have patented the particularly irritating “Me-Car.” Their conversational goal is to share as much about themselves as they can with as many people who are willing to listen. Every so often, the Me-Car drivers may inquire about your life, exploiting a seemingly selfless moment as a transition into another story about themselves. For these people, the Me-Car is a secure vehicle as it drives only within the confines of the owner’s comfort zone.

Driving the Me-Car is not limited to individuals, however. Companies, too, are often big investors in this automobile.

When company directors believe that the world and their customers revolve around them, they sacrifice the harmony and stability of multi-dimensional relationships. Various psychological studies have found that in order for a relationship to flourish, all parties must contribute to and gain value from the other. Salesforce Desk states that “companies that prioritize the customer experience generate 60% higher profits than their competitors.” In order to create a positive business consumer alliance, companies should focus less on convenience on their end and more on customer expectations.

Rather than cater to consumer needs, Me-Car businesses force consumers to adapt to their business behaviors and structures, discounting the intelligence, individuality, and preferences of their customers. Companies can only stop driving the Me-Car once they begin to adopt a genuine, altruistic nature.

For companies and individuals alike, perhaps it is time to listen rather than talk. Watch rather than show. Strive to care rather than to be cared about. Perhaps it is time for us all to adopt the “We-Car.”