People tend to have wrong-headed ideas of how they are with other people. We might think we are kind, caring, and loving when in fact others see us as unkind, hurtful and mean-spirited. Where is the disconnect?
- When you are with friends and family, do you have a scowl on your face? Do your eyebrows raise in dismay and is there a deep wrinkle between them? If so, others will see you as mean and punishing before you even say a word.
- How often do you smile? If you don’t like to smile, have bad teeth that you are trying to hide or just don’t like to feel your facial muscles stretch, others may think you disapprove of them, just because you don’t smile.
- Are you often silent without an explanation? Do you neglect to tell others you are pausing to think and process what they just said to you? Silence without an explanation can be seen as punishing by others.
- What is your vocabulary like? Do you use robust language a lot? You know, words usually thought of as coarse, rough and street language? If so, others may think you are rough, coarse and will want to stay away for fear that physical violence might follow.
- Do you tell others the bottom line truth about them, ideas and others without being invited to? If so, others may think you are a serial killer, using words and your version of the truth to destroy them.
- Where do you look when you converse with others? If your eyes rarely look at theirs, people may think you have a hidden agenda and be afraid to find out if it’s so.
- Are you impatient with others, tapping a foot or hand to signify to others, “Hurry up. I can’t wait all day.” If you are impatient, others will think you are trying to push them around.
The truth may be that you are distracted by your own problems, sad, preoccupied with pressures others know nothing about, angry that you are not happy right now, and nervous because of your own circumstances.
Unless you set the context for others, to know that you are not at your best, you may be seen as a bully.
Jill Kamp Melton is the author of The Power of the Zip and is known for: Leading and Coaching Leaders; Asking Challenging Questions; Setting Direction for Others to Grow; and Strategic Planning. As an executive coach, life coach, Intentional Difference coach, facilitator and author, Jill has a passion to help others realize potential they may not be aware of.