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  • Is it them or is it you?

    24th April 2018 | Blog
  • When you find yourself at odds with someone, is it them or is it you that’s out of synch?

    Perhaps an exchange where you thought you were being friendly ends up becoming discordant for both parties and you feel misunderstood. Or it could be in a situation when you think you’ve explained clearly to the other person what you want them to do and they’ve done it differently from how you asked them. How could they get it wrong?

    Perhaps it’s a situation where you’re sure you know what the intention is behind something they’ve done or said. For example, you think ‘She did that deliberately to upset me.’ And yet do you know – really?

    In situations like these, are you more likely to think that the other person is wrong or would you assume it’s you? How many times have you heard someone in a similar situation say ‘Perhaps it’s me, but I wouldn’t have done it like that/said that/ etc.’ in such a way that suggests that they don’t think it’s them at all but that the other person is the one out of step.

    How often do you say that sort of thing yourself?

    What if it’s both of you?

    Every day we all encounter a range of different situations. How we deal with them depends on a range of factors including who we are, our role in the situation, our values and beliefs and what our general mood is at the time.

    Quite recently I had a minor misunderstanding with someone who asked me, perfectly politely, to do something that would help him.  At the time I was in a hurry to get out of the door to do something else, plus it wasn’t actually in my power to help him. I started off by telling him politely that I couldn’t help but when he implied that I was being unreasonable, I was bit short with him which clearly annoyed him.

    What he wouldn’t have known is that I had already been inconvenienced by the particular project several times and so it wasn’t going to take much to make me respond a bit sharply about it.

    The issue itself was very minor but it reminded me that we don’t know always know what’s going on for other people that has lead up to their comments or behaviour that seem to be out of synch for us. We don’t always know their back story.

    Maybe sometimes it’s you whose back story is creating the discord. Perhaps you have an expectation of someone that simply doesn’t match their understanding of the situation.

    It almost doesn’t matter whether it’s you or them.

    Discord or altercation usually produces an emotional response of anger, hurt or a sense of injustice.

    Recognising the situation as a difference in back story, expectations or understanding can take away some of those emotions.

    Maybe next time remember to ask yourself, ‘Is it them – or could it be me?’

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