It’s almost always there. Saying the thing that everyone sees or believes without every being told. The praises of character. Helping someone through a hard time.
After Life 2 captures this perfectly. When coworkers are feeling down, the main character Tony, starts taking them out for coffee to cheer them up. Sharing something deeply personal and complimenting the people. In the scenes, his coworkers well up with emotion.
That emotion that starts to flow is from Tony breaking the tension. A tension that is always present. A tension that most people want to ignore.
Some people have a knack for spotting this in others. As I’ve gotten older, I’ve become more like Tony was in the show. A more senior coworker wasn’t given enough praise for their work, I wrote a nice piece to the company about how much they helped me and shared how I wouldn’t have the skills I do today without them. They later told me they teared up.
Here’s something interesting. Some people can read it from people naturally. What doesn’t come naturally to everyone is the courage to say it. Almost no one does. Culture has taught us to be this way. That callousness is the path forward, but it doesn’t have to be.
There is always an opportunity to break the tension. Perhaps take it if you get the chance.