Trying Times

Even if you are still leaving home to go to work, your activities are probably quite restricted. There is a long list of things you can’t do and places you can’t go. That means that you are spending more time in close proximity to your family. And being closer to each other does not necessarily lead to more closeness. It’s perhaps even more likely that you are working from home or – worse yet – without a job. The result is that you spend most all of your time with your family.

Can you relate to this? My parents have been gone for several years; but when they were still alive, I loved them dearly but definitely would not have wanted to live with them. Had it been necessary, we would have worked it out; but living together is not something either they or I would have chosen. The same holds for my adult children and for their children, for that matter. My family is special to me; but living with them on a 24-hour basis sound like a prescription for trouble.

But this is a time of little to no choice. That’s why we are sharing some tips for getting along when there is not much opportunity to get apart.

Our tips start with some wisdom that has been around forever. It says that it’s not what we love about each other that helps us get along, but is what we are willing to put up with from each other. What we love about each other is why we want to get along to start with. What we are willing to put up with from each other is what keeps us from blowing up or walking out. But when we can’t get some distance from each other or time away, putting up with what we have been just putting up with can get very hard to handle. Putting up with it – whatever it is – on a 24-hour, 7 days a week basis can stress the limits of tolerance and sensitivity for the best of us. What we just put up with before is now way over the top, even for us. …

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Did You Intend to…?

How much better would your world be if other people just understood that you seldom intend to say or do whatever is annoying or frustrating them? Let’s think about how that might work.

People seldom intend to be jerks. I think we have all had to deal with someone who is just being a jerk. They are being difficult and impossible to cope with due to their seeming to be stupid, insensitive, hopelessly self-centered or clueless, or maybe all of the above. But are we ever the jerk in the picture? We sure don’t intend to be the jerk but we probably have our jerk moments, at least from the perspective of other people. As reasonable and as appropriate as we try to be, even nice people like us may slip into jerk mode at times.

People seldom intend to do less than their best. Do they always make an effort to do everything they can do as well as they can do it? No, people surely don’t do that. Rather, they usually make their best effort to do as much as they think is necessary and to do it as well as they think it needs done. The problem is that we may not agree that they have done enough or done it as well as we needed it done. Our issue is that we wanted more or better. From our perspective, the other person could have and should have done more or done better. It seems to us that we haven’t gotten his or her best effort. We have to deal with a shirker, with someone who is lazy or is sloppy and half does things. Of course we always give everything we do our best effort, always do things correctly and completely – or do we?

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Driving Everyone Up The Wall

Have you ever wondered how frustrated people manage to be so frustrating? Well, it requires a set of skills that most people don’t have but can develop, with practice. If you aspire to be among the frustrating elite, here is a full dozen of the most useful techniques for totally frustrating people. With time and concentration, even amateurs can become proficient at frustrating most anyone. The only requirement is to creatively expand these techniques to numerous relationships and to add new and innovative techniques as you go along. Read and judge for yourself.

1. Always play it safe; and above all, don’t take any chances. If it is not in writing, either get it in writing or refuse to do it until it is in writing. If it is already in writing, ask for clarification. Once you have gotten clarification, check with a few other people to see what their understanding is and then ask for a meeting to discuss the confusion everyone is experiencing.

2. Put most of your time and energy into worrying and hoping nothing changes. When things do change, ask for written procedures and clarification. Once you get clarification, suggest that the changes be put off until everyone has had an opportunity to provide input and to discuss the long-term implications of the changes. After everything has been discussed at least twice, take your sweet old time getting with the new program, letting everyone you talk to know that the changes are causing things to back up and nothing is getting done.

3. Avoid taking responsibility for anything. Certainly don’t volunteer and be reluctant even if asked. If you can’t avoid it, ask for written instructions and check back often for additional instructions and clarification. If someone tells you, “If you can’t handle this, I will find someone who can,” you should say, “That’s an excellent idea. I really have too many other responsibilities to handle this right now anyway.”

4. Don’t put up with the quirks and idiosyncrasies of other people. You know how to behave and they should too. If there is anything about them or the way they do things that you know isn’t the way people should act, mention it to a few people. Say something like, “I suppose you have heard what people are saying about so-and-so.” Not one person in a hundred will resist saying, “No, what?” Now just lay it out, being careful to emphasize that, although you don’t feel that way personally, other people are getting pretty fed up with it and that you just want to give everyone a head’s up about the problems that are brewing out there.

The Frustration Factor: It’s Always About Me

Ray Vinham stands up to a light round of applause and delivers his campaign speech to the Westover Leadership Coalition. It is the evening he has waited for since the day he joined the civic group. From that first meeting, he had known that his being president was critical if the club were to get out of its rut. He revels in the knowledge that his day has finally come.

The I-Players of the world are alive and about to drive their associates up the wall. It’s always about me is their theme song and they sing it loudly and enthusiastically. Sit back, relax, listen and learn. You are about to be the next unwitting victim driven up that wall, if you are not very careful.