When People Are Being Too Harsh On You, Don’t Worry: It’s About Them
A long time ago I worked together with an acquaintance on a writing project. She was someone I very looked up to, being simply skilled at writing. I was pretty happy working with her and grateful we had met each other.
Whereas other people get happy from eating ice-cream and holidays, I become happy meeting skilled people and deadlines. Don’t worry Mum, work-a-holic is not my second name. It’s my first. I promise I won’t end with a cat waiting for me at the end of the day. Because of some superstition I’m scared of cats anyways…
One day my acquaintance decided to quit working on this project, telling me she had a very busy time in her life. Without a pre-message or warning she threw in the towel. That night I was reading her email over and over again. “Did I read this right?” having my eye-balls almost popped out. “You can’t leave an important business relationship like that,” was the only thing running through my mind.
It was like a scene out of a movie where the guy stands in the hall room, with a dusty travel bag and a heavy voice saying: “I don’t want to be with you anymore, let’s divorce”.
I was so disappointed to read such an email without a proper explanation, or what bothered me most, to never have received signals during our work relationship.
Human beings can be so unpredictable sometimes. Why is that?
I consider myself an understanding person unless people want to communicate with me in a harsh way or leaving me puzzled what happened seconds ago.
I’ve learned from customer services work experiences to stay friendly and calm and to ask for clarifications in such situations. Staying friendly and calm works. Not always, actually. I watched a video on Instagram the other day where a woman at Starbucks went crazy with the poor guy at the counter. Wow, that was bizarre, but the woman in that video must have been an exception.
Once people decide to leave you or treat you poorly, asking for clarifications won’t always give the satisfying answers.
And I wondered if I had missed any signals. There were actually signals.People are probably not always that unpredictable.
At some point they can be your best friend and at some other point they become so alienated. But regardless of this they show their personality traits, the good and the not so pleasant ones.
However, there are exceptions: sometimes it may have to do something with ourselves when people treat us this poorly or decide to leave us. We might have performed a certain action we were not completely aware of. I only don’t agree with treating people unfairly without a certain reason or not taking people’s priorities into consideration, thinking only of themselves.
Sometimes if people simply show a bit more empathy, or ending the relationship in a kind way, we may deal with such situations better. It can make all the difference in the memory we have of them.
Finally I got my answer after some time when I read one of her blogs. She shared a life story. You might think it is not so special, but this one was. She wrote that her first husband cheated on her and I never knew this. While she had a warm personality, at the same time, this explained to me the reason why sometimes she could come across harsh when giving feedback, or even communicating with me. It explained to me the unpredictable moments she could have.
I’m not Ms. Psychology Degree, but if there is one thing life taught me, it is when people experience trust issues, your good attempts in creating a connection with them reminds them of how kind hearted they were once as well. It can take more time for them to be consistent in their relationship with you and to see you as an equal.
Life was teaching me again to stay kind and to not take things personally, as a cliché can unexpectedly pop out: “Be kind to people anyway as you never know what people are struggling with.”
This article originally appeared in Be Yourself.