Do you find that people are frustrating you? Disappointing you? Has this been going on for a long time and in all walks of your life: family, job, hobbies, neighborhood or church? Do you wish people would respect you more? Understand you better?
Do you need more time to yourself? Or maybe you need less time to yourself because you are lonely.
Do you need more attention from a friend or lover, because you feel isolated or shut out? Or do you need less attention from them because you feel smothered.
Do you want more guidance and coaching from a boss? Or do you want less help and more autonomy in doing your job?
Do you wish you had a magic way to make people “get it”, to cause people to do what you need them to do? Then here is the magic trick. Lean in closely. Here is the secret: JUST SAY SO. It is often that easy to get others to do what you want. Just tell them. No beating around the bush, no mincing words. Just smile, be reasonably diplomatic if you can and tell them what you need. The important thing is to speak up, even if you don’t say it exactly right. Trust me; you’ll get better at it the more you practice.
Most people want to be helpful. They like to please others. Good Samaritans abound. Most likely your friends and relatives and business associates are polite to other people. They probably wouldn’t mind being nicer to you. But all too often they don’t know what to do. There are no mind readers in the real world. You must tell them.
Start the conversation any way you like.
- I have a favor to ask…
- I wonder if I could ask you to do something for me…
- I have an odd request…
And then use the magic phrase: When you [do something] I feel [a certain way]. Here are two common examples:
- When you finish my sentences for me, I feel you are impatient with me. But I need the time to think when I am talking. Please be patient. You think faster than me.
- When you change the subject immediately after I say something I feel you aren’t really listening. I feel you are just using the time while I am talking to assemble your next statement. Please at least acknowledge what I have just said so I know you head me.
If people keep ignoring you or interrupting you or . . . doing whatever to annoy you, you have to ask yourself if you are helping cause the problem. And if you have never told them how you feel or how you would like them to change their behavior, you should not be at all surprised when they disappoint you. Doing the same thing over and over again but expecting a different result is one clinical definition of insanity. So tell the people with whom you regularly interact, bosses, family members, friends and others, what you need them to do (or not do) to make your life go smoother with less drama and less frustration. Otherwise do not complain about how you are being treated. Speak up or shut up!
Copyright: Solid Thinking Corporation
—Mack McKinney is on a personal crusade to eliminate conflict and stress in our lives. Mack’s mantra is “People treat you like you TRAIN them to treat you!” His company Solid Thinking Corporation teaches creativity, concept development, relationship management and high-performance project leadership to major US corporations and the US government