There are three kinds of people. Well, arguably, there are many more than three kinds of people. But when you are talking about startling someone, basically, there are just three kinds.
The first kind will fall all over themselves to get away from what has just startled them. I’ve seen it again and again. Someone goes “boo” and the person literal falls backward on the floor. Or turns and runs as fast and as far as they can. Which is often not far because there are walls and doors and chairs and things in the way that the person knows about, but in the heat of the moment has forgotten about.
This kind of person makes up the majority.
The second kind will lash out. It’s instinctive. Something threatens you and you deal with that threat. I’ve seen this too. Often it means that the person who goes “boo” gets punched in the face or the gut or the throat. None of which is good.
Usually the person doing the punching is remorseful, but not always. It’s understandable. No one likes to be startled.
That kind of person is less common.
The third kind of person is the least common. This kind will not react at all. They won’t fall down trying to get away and they won’t punch you either. It’s not that they’re stupid. Or slow. No. It’s the opposite. They are smart and quick and say to themselves, “Nothing to get my panties in a bunch about. Just someone trying to have a little fun at my expense.”
For the prankster who goes “boo,” this is the least satisfying sort of person. The kind that falls down is a validation of sorts, “Yeah, I scared the crap out of that person.” Even the kind that strikes out is a reward because the prankster got a reaction, albeit a painful one. But the third kind gives nothing at all to the prankster and quite possibly makes the prankster feel a little bit silly.
I’ve never enjoyed being startled. I don’t consider pranks of this kind to be funny or amusing. Actually, I think they are a bit cruel.
So when I witness a person falling down in response to being startled, I’m sad. When I see the prankster get punched as a result, I think well, yeah, they probably deserved that. But when I see someone not react at all, I think, yup, there’s a person I’d like to know.
So, which kind are you?