Chapter 3 : Unpleasant Situations
You may never like everyone: Amy will always laugh a little too loudly and Dan just says the word ‘typical’ too much. You can avoid wanting to have lunch with them as much as you like but disliking someone doesn’t mean having to be rude to them. Particularly in the workplace, avoiding conflict and dealing with problems in a private, sensitive manner, is best for everyone.
-Control you temper
-Treat people fairly
That said, sometimes you simply have to stand up for yourself, for your ethics or on someone else’s behalf. People can push it too far sometimes and you have to do something about it. Remember, it’s okay to be the person in the room who refuses to go along with everyone else if you have a good reason not to. History books are filled by the stories of people who went against the majority.
Unpleasant situations come in many forms – complaining about someone’s behaviour, having to reject an invitation, spending time with people you don’t want to. With a calm demeanour and a willingness to comprise these things can turn out much better than you spent all night thinking it would.
When dealing with an unpleasant situation, it’s important to take a step back and think. Sleep on it if you must. Sometimes it might be better to pick your battles. Yes, that’s terribly unfair advice but the world isn’t always fair. Accusing someone of bad conduct – even if they did it – can reflect badly on you, and if it’s an employer you are risking your job. Only you can decide whether the issue is important enough.
-Stay calm. She who shouts loses.
-Air any grievances in private. Confronting your mother-in-law about stealing your cutlery in front of the entire family is not going to work.
-For work related problems, it may be acceptable to sue the coward’s weapon: email. In most situations not confronting someone directly is seen badly, but certain cases it is useful to leave a paper trail.
-If you’re in the wrong, apologize – and mean it.
-Come prepared with a solution. It’s easy to moan about problems. But they’re more likely to get solved if you come with an idea.
-Spread gossip about the person. Be respectful.
-Rolls your eyes or shake your head.
-If you agree to a compromise then you have to agree to it. If in doubt, ask for a little time to think before accepting.
If you’re the one being complained about or confronted be courteous and listen to what the other person is saying. Don’t be too defensive and try to talk through the problem together.
In Chinese culture it is considered okay to smile in an uncomfortable situation. However, in many western countries this is thought to be incredibly rude as people will think you are not taking the issue seriously.