People often ask if I was always a Winning Without Intimidation -type of guy. Unfortunately, I wasn’t, and certainly regret some of the ways I handled (or mishandled) situations that proved detrimental and/or hurtful to everyone involved. If I may, I’ll share one of those with you now, as I see similar incidents happen so often today. There’s a much better solution.
One day back in college, I was in a conversation with some friends and the name of a guy we’ll call “Dennis” was brought up. I mentioned that I thought very highly of him. One of the guys, obviously surprised, pointed out how strange that was, since Dennis truly disliked me, and often voiced that opinion. Another person quickly agreed with that assessment, which I later learned was correct.
Being heavily involved in school politics, it wasn’t totally surprising that someone would feel that way toward me, but this was different. Here’s a guy I respected, who I thought was a great guy, and now I’m being told that not only did he not feel the same way, but also was very vocal about it!
The next time I saw him, I really – let’s say – communicated my anger and disgust (even writing this now embarrasses me, and is actually painful to share). Did this change Dennis’ feelings about me? Of course not. It only gave him more justification to continue to feel the same way, if not more so. And I definitely came to think of him in a very negative light.
To this day, I don’t know what I did to have originally offended him. Maybe something. Maybe nothing. Sometimes people don’t like someone…just because they don’t. But that’s probably not so in this case. In those days, although generally a nice guy, I could be very outspoken and (ouch) even offensive.
When I look back on it now I once again think he was a good guy. And, based on what it was about him that I respected in the first place, I probably did do something – even indirectly – to have legitimately offended him.
But that’s beside the point. The question now is, “What would have been the best way to have handled the ‘Dennis Situation’ after originally finding out about his negative feelings toward me?” And how should we handle similar situations that might present themselves today?
We’ll look at that in the next article.
Meanwhile, your thoughts and suggestions?