“I don’t like you.”
“I don’t like you.” It’s been many years since someone said that to me directly. Yet, on occasion some clients share that they have been on the receiving end of similar statements. In truth, I have received implied statements of this kind. Usually led by the phrase “Yeah, right!”
Generally this is a blow to the ego. How do you handle this kind of situation? Some folks respond with immense negative energy towards the offending person. Some folks start feeling bad about themselves. Some folks pretend it didn’t happen and shrug it off because they figure that’s the best way to handle it. Some folks inquire of the offensive person, why they think so. This is motivated by feelings that the other person needs to be convinced otherwise, because they are stupid and ignorant of the great person they are attacking.
When I was much younger my mom and I once witnessed the following scenario. A woman stood up from the table and stated in a moderate tone, yet clear enough for the nearest tables, “I just don’t like you, it’s not that complicated.” She then quietly picked up her jacket from the back of the chair and walked out leaving her fellow diner alone at the table with a queried look.
This happened while my mom and I were sharing a Sunday morning brunch. Personally, I found the whole disruption fascinating rather than offensive. However, some of the other patrons responded in ways similar to what I mentioned above.
My mom went straight for the empathy card with a little remorse in the tone of her voice. She said, “Oh that poor woman, she must be hurting so bad, if she has to strike out at someone with those kinds of words.”
That event was a motivating influence to convince me to enter the field of psychology. Why do we hurt others? It is often a defense system of our own egos.
Office Conflict Solutions:
Consistency in customer service is what business people ask me about all the time. Keep your internal customers as happy as your external customer is my quick and truthful answer. We need to do a much better job of finding out what our employees or team members need to succeed, and what they need to feel good about their jobs. This is our top priority as business and community leaders. That trickle down energy is always there in successful companies.
How do you get along with that difficult person that exists in every office? If you use the same technique on a customer, they will feel it and not return. Your co-worker unfortunately stays and makes everyone’s life difficult. Bring that person into the fold; do not perpetuate their role. This will change the dynamic of your company and profits will follow. These are facts not theories.
Establishing simple language techniques for boundaries as simple as making an “I” statement rather than a “You” statement will develop new patterns of communicating your respective needs and build respect for your business.
Most relationships end in divorce because when the inevitable conflict in life arises we are taught by our evident culture to end it rather than find a way to resolve it. People wait until it is too late. Start now and learn how to talk to someone you don’t want to—but have to.
It will save your work, your relationship and your life. As always, remember to breathe deeply and often.
How to boost office morale:
A business magazine recently interviewed me about my 40 years as an entrepreneur. Two of the most pertinent questions were:
Outside of raises or bonuses, what is one thing a company can do to boost employee morale? What are the best examples you’ve witnessed that have really worked?
Having quarterly office parties where we all bring a loved one and have a paid speaker share a 45-minute aspect of improving our lives at home or at work. This built camaraderie and conversations we could all grow with.
In very active, high stress offices I have witnessed daily meetings where each person shares a genuine one-minute and timed, “what’s up” or check in. Keeping it to a max of fifteen employees. Many learn to do it in less than thirty seconds. It helped the office share in the joyful statement of some and alternatively build empathy with those challenged by something else. Examples were births and deaths, new cars and backaches.
Having a monthly rotating “Karma Buddy” in the office with whom you have lunch at least once a week to share the last three highlights of your week and the three challenges of the week.
In summary, developing relationships is the best way to build and maintain morale.
Better than “what do you do for a living?”
Nothing gathers my interest in someone else more than when they show a genuine interest in me. I believe this is universal for the average social person.
When I am at a party or function a common gate opener to others often starts with “What do you do?” This usually invites the standard elevator speech that most think is most impressive on what they want others to think of them as an image. Basically when the question is asked it’s really saying “what can you do for me?” Or at best we are being polite because that is the social morality of our times to overcome awkward shyness or just to pay the host back for offering free food and drink. Maybe we connect so we can find out if they have single friends available.
Perhaps it’s to find out if they can buy our product. The sub-text list is endless.
What’s better than that standard question is “Why do you do what you do?”
Many times when I ask, the answer that comes out does not even touch on what kind of job they have. I really find out about what people love and are passionate about in thier life. On rare occasions it reveals the sadness of thier existence.
However the conversation will often lead back to what I am passionate about also. Suddenly I have encountered a friend who actually cares about me because I have proven I care about them. This is a foundation block to real social interactions. The success of life in the future will be determined by how well we connect with others in a sincere and trustful way.
Remember to take a deep breath often.
Success at Life = Thought Control:
Your thoughts, like horses pulling a chariot, can be exhilarating when galloping through your mind, yet dangerous and wild if you don’t practice handling them on a regular basis. The horses when galloping will require constant coercion as they pull this way and that way. It takes great effort to get around a corner and even more to bring them to a standstill, and even then, they’re restless if they’ve recently been driven hard.
When you can control and moderate your thoughts, it becomes a lot easier to stop or make a sharp turn compared to letting your thoughts run wild in a conversation, particularly a stressful one. Meditation and yoga are probably the oldest training tools applicable to this challenge. Virtually every religion has a practice that challenges one’s ability to slow down the mind. Some use mantras, such as repeating a holy name, or focused breathing to empty the mind and allow God to speak. Many sports also involve controlling your breathing honoring that spirit of competition in top athletes.
When your mind is calm, you can focus, when you’re focused, you can listen well. When others know your listening they pay attention to what you have to say and that is success at life. Constant practice is the only way I know to achieve a high level of thought control. Like changing a life long habit of which leg you put in your pants first, taming your thoughts is more difficult than it seems, yet it’s a worthy challenge.
The old story of a farmer driving his horse from town to home usually ends with the man falling asleep and waking up at home, not remembering how he got there. Imagine this man moving to the next farmhouse down the road. He had to learn to stay awake and think about where he was going rather than following the old un-conscious pattern that his horse knew. When you have a recurring thought that takes you down that old road of unconscious negativity, change it.
When you are excited and thinking about the possibilities of life this can be just like those galloping horses. It is a thrilling ride yet they will often take you down a road of patterned behavior because it is easier than controlling your thoughts.
If you want to get where you’re going in life it is because you are not where you want to be in life at present. Falling asleep like the farmer will keep you away from the success of the new road you wish to follow. Letting the chariot run wild with the horses uncontrolled will lead you down the easiest road which is the one you have ridden before and not the one where you want to go and make a success of your ventures.
Stop indulging in your every whim because society tells you that this is the reward of freedom and success. Start taking control of your thoughts by disciplining your patterns and desires, not because they are bad, only because you will gain the power of thought control. This has been, and always will be, the ultimate secret to success in any culture, lifestyle, sport and business.
From 2001 to 2006, Wave’s focus was facilitating 14-week anger management workshops with court-mandated individuals arrested in Oregon for violence and abuse. His field of expertise is in communication, with a focus in nonverbal awareness. Today, Wave resides in the Hawaiian Islands and ponders the sunset most evenings.