There is an acceptable way of treating people, of asking them to do something for us without sounding insensitive or arrogant. I know, I know; it varies and I get that but I’m pretty sure it doesn’t include screaming like a drill sergeant to get what you want. Now that’s just me but it’s probably one of the things that annoy me the most. Granted some us have more authority, age or right to be bossier than the rest but it doesn’t excuse us from being the least bit sensitive towards other people’s feelings or in my case, peeves.
Just recently, there was this woman who asked me to clean something up. Usually I don’t mind because living with or working with someone does entail some responsibilities like cleaning up after yourself or helping others do the same when they’re too busy running around and you’re not. It’s just that the way she asked me was extremely condescending like she knew she had it over me. She recounted the many times she did it while pointing out a hundred and one ways I’m doing it wrong in the highest imaginable decibel. If that’s not aggravating enough, she doesn’t stop even when I’m done cleaning up.
Here’s how I deal with it.
I never engage. When someone is annoying the hell out of me, I don’t confront them at that moment. I calm myself down and wait it out until they too are composed enough to talk. When I am back to my usual, reasonable and unexasperated self, I approach the person and we discuss what happened. You don’t want the other person to feel attacked because that never solves anything. She’ll be too busy defending herself rather that listening to your side of the story. Often, the issue is that I too crossed one of her peeves and she’s just letting her frustration out when she felt like it.
I wanted to write this entry because I learned this lesson the hard way. I wish someone called me out and taught me a better way to respond. I’ve always been guided by what’s rational, even responses to extreme situations. It conditioned me to expect people to be as reasonable as I am and when they’re not, all hell breaks loose. That never accomplished anything good. I end up hurting my friends, peers and people who work for me and I don’t think that’s fair to them or to me. So I came up with this, a scenario where I don’t hurt their feelings, at least not as much, and I also don’t compromise on my beliefs and the culture that I want to create wherever I am.
I am not suggesting that this works for everybody, in every possible situation but it helped me a lot. I earnestly hope it does the same for you.
And if you know of a better way to handle similar problems, give me a hoot.