The reason so many people struggle with understanding who they are and what they want is not that they don’t know, it’s that they’re more or less conditioned to immediately compare that instinct to what others would consider "right." Since the day we’re conscious enough to understand, we’re policed and drilled into feeling, behaving, thinking a certain way. A lot of this is for good reason. A lot of this is beneficial and necessary. But then, when we get to the arena in which we generally have not a clue how to conduct ourselves (emotional intelligence, generally being humane, etc.) and. well. you get the picture.
The thing we all struggle with, really above anything else, is our relationships to people. With family, with love, with employers, with ourselves. Sure, we have to focus on our relationship with health or finances or what-have-you, but those things are ultimately products (and side-effects) of our relationships to others (and especially ourselves).
Often we don’t even realize we’re not being ourselves around others, but we do pick up on generally not feeling at ease or as though we’re accepted. It’s hard to be vulnerable enough to connect in that way, but it’s harder not to. Here, all the subtle feelings you’ll begin to experience before you realize you’ve put your Truth (note the capital T) on the back-burner:
A Desire To Be Alone Most Of The Time
The more you refuse to be yourself in the presence of other people, the more you’re going to feel as though you’re not being seen or accepted by them. The more you feel unseen and unaccepted, the more you’re just going to want to be alone. (It’s a nasty cycle that perpetuates itself.)
A Hatred For "People" In General
Grouping "people" and their behaviors and negative faults altogether into one mass that you feel you cannot stand is usually a pretty good indicator that you’re suffering from a disconnect to yourself. You are a person. What you see in others is a reflection of yourself. What you see in yourself you are projecting onto "everyone."
Anxiety Induced By Social Situations (Yet Anxiety From Not Being Connected To Others At The Same Time)
Otherwise known as, you know, "social anxiety" (but I wasn’t going to put that phrase to it, as its more clinical than not). If you recognize that a lot of your upset comes from feeling as though social situations are scary catalysts that are out of your control, yet another coexisting (or even more intense) anxiety is that you feel as though nobody accepts you or that you want friends or that you do desire social interaction, it’s probably a matter of not dancing with the one who brought ya. (Which is you, by the way.)
A Need To Be Performative About Basic Things
A good example of this is not being able to leave the house without makeup on, or other day-to-day behaviors that create an image of "you" that suddenly become "musts" or anxiety triggers if not acted on religiously.
An Attachment To Ideas About Your Life As Opposed To Their Realities
Simply, it means that you’re in love with how other people will perceive your existence, as opposed to how it will actually be. This is maybe the biggest sign you’re not trusting yourself and your opinion over other peoples’ (which is the only reason you’re not being yourself around others — it’s not that you don’t know who you are, it’s that you trust their opinion more than you do your own).
A Lack Of Genuine (Or Meaningful) Connection
You have friends, you have acquaintances, you even have a best friend — yet often, you can sense a sort of disconnect between you, or it feels as though you’re not completely "getting" one another.
An Out Of Character Kind Of Clumsiness
You’ll trip on your words, feel like you said the wrong thing at the wrong time, or just generally feel a little out of place. This is what happens when we are consciously trying to construct our experiences with others as opposed to just being ourselves and letting them flow. The ironic thing is that being "yourself" usually gets you where you thought "trying to be someone else" would in the first place.
Whether it’s your aunt who can’t keep her mouth shut about the weight you’ve gained — or your boss who insists that you clock out when you go to the restroom — it can be difficult to be civil when others act in ways that trigger your temper. While you won’t be able to do a thing to change such a person’s behavior, you can change your own thoughts and actions so that getting along with difficult people becomes possible, if not easy.
Fake it until you make it. You don’t have to like someone to smile at them and wish them a nice day. If the brilliant actor Jim Carey can repeatedly play the role of dim-witted dolts, you can put aside the ugly thoughts you are having about your nit-picking neighbor and complement him on the new deck he built.
Identify the reason for your hatred. In a February 2010 article in “Psychology Today,” neuropsychologist Rick Hanson notes that aggressive feelings can arise when a person feels threatened. Even a slight sense of anxiety over your coworker’s propensity to dominate meetings, for example, can trigger feelings of dislike. When you address the root cause of the reason you cannot respect her, your interactions with her are likely to improve, because you have stepped away from a position of reacting to one of personal awareness.
Change your thoughts about the person. If you find yourself mulling over the fact that your brother-in-law is a pompous know-it-all, switch gears and focus on what a good provider he is for your sister’s family, or his remarkable ability to repair almost any mechanical problem. Use affirmations to break a pattern of negative thoughts, advises clinical psychologist Carmen Harra in a July 2013 article in the “Huffington Post.” You might say something like, “I feel love for each person I encounter each day, ” or “I honor and respect all beings.”
Take a couple of deep breaths before you see the person. Feelings of hate trigger a “fight or flight” response, says Hanson. A few slow, deep breaths from your belly activate the parasympathetic nervous system, which will calm you down and enable you to treat the aggravating person with respect.
Think of how you would like to be treated and interact with the person you dislike in that way. Refuse to allow your feelings to change the way you would ordinarily interact with people. Doing so allows them power over your behavior and can result in you feelings victimized when you are around them — simply because you don’t feel in control.
There she is again. That fake smile. That annoying laugh.
Everyone else seems to think she’s the second coming of Sheryl Sandberg, but she grates on your nerves like a fork dragging down a dry chalkboard.
You can’t put your finger on why, exactly, but your gut is telling you, “Don’t trust her.”
If you could, you would just avoid this particular colleague completely. The problem is, you have to work with her every day.
It’s bad enough to dislike someone that you have to see five (or more) days a week. It’s even worse when it feels like nobody else is particularly bothered by him or her. It’s just you.
As a psychologist and life coach, I hear a lot of frustrated diatribes about “that one person” at the office who feels like a prickling thorn, wrecking your workplace zen. Here’s my take on how to deal with a co-worker who you (ugh!) just cannot stand.
Remember That It’s Okay to Not Like Someone
Gasp! Really? Yes. A lot of people feel intensely guilty for not liking or thinking negative thoughts about a certain person. But actually, it’s perfectly okay to dislike someone’s personality. It’s no different than not liking a particular shirt in a clothing store, a particular fragrance, or a particular item on a menu.
You are human, and all human beings are wired with individual likes and dislikes. It’s okay for you to have certain preferences, just like your super annoying colleague has his or her own preferences, too.
Remember That a Feeling and Acting on a Feeling are Two Very Different Things
Privately not liking something or someone and thinking to yourself, “Nope, no thanks!” is not a problem. The problem arises if you act on your feelings in an outward, hurtful way. Like tossing red paint on the shirt that you absolutely can’t stand in the store, for example. Or treating a co-worker rudely and inappropriately.
Part of having your emotional act together is being able to feel a certain way without needing to act on that feeling.
Remember That Gossiping Only Hurts One Person’s Reputation: Yours
It can feel so tempting to chitchat around the proverbial water cooler about how awful that certain co-worker is. Many people try to use snarky gossip as a way to bond with their co-workers, earning their laughter and what they think is their respect. But engaging in that kind of behavior only makes you seem like an insensitive bully.
If you truly want to bond, ask people about their current obsessions (the healthy kind), their passions, the music they love, their secret dreams and projects—or stick with a simple get-to-know-you question, like, “What’s been the best part of your morning so far?”
Build a reputation as the most positive, inspiring person at the office—not the snarkiest.
Remember That When Someone Pushes Your Buttons, There’s a Reason for It
If someone profoundly bugs you, in a can’t-get-over-it kind of way, the emotions you’re feeling are not coming out of nowhere. It’s likely that this person reminds you of someone else who hurt you in the past.
Maybe the co-worker who drives you nuts constantly interrupts you when you’re speaking—just like your mom used to do (and still does!). Or maybe your colleague acts a certain way in one-on-one meetings with you, but then puts on a completely different face and demeanor for group meetings when the boss is watching. And this reminds you of your “perfect” older sister who always won everyone’s affection and praise, even though she was so mean to you when the two of you were alone together.
If someone at work irritates you, and the feeling of frustration is very intense and lasts more than 15 seconds, that’s a good sign that something from your past is being triggered. That something is often (though not always) connected to a situation from childhood. Do some soul searching or free writing to see if you can connect the dots, understand yourself a bit better, and ultimately, forgive whoever hurt you in the past, so you don’t have to carry around the burden of resentment any longer.
Remember That You Can Express Yourself Honestly—Without Being Unprofessional
If your co-worker is doing something specific that upsets you, you can—and should—have a civil conversation about it. Ideally, it should happen sooner rather than later, before it blows up into something irreconcilable.
Be specific, reasonable, and matter-of-fact with your request. If your co-worker is continually breaking promises or missing deadlines, for example, say, “Hey, I know you’re probably swamped with emails. I am, too. But when you say that you’ll email me your portion of the project by 4 PM, and you don’t follow through, it makes it tough for me to work efficiently and move projects forward on schedule. In the future, if you’re sensing that you won’t be able to send something on time, I’d appreciate a quick head’s up. Thanks.”
It truly is possible to talk about an issue without resorting to an accusatory tone, rudeness, or other unprofessional behavior. Model the kind of respectful communication and workplace conduct that you’d like to see. Rather than moaning, snarking, or gossiping, be a beacon of excellence—and that will inspire everyone around you to rise up, too.
Remember That Everyone Just Wants to Be Loved
D.H. Lawrence once wrote, “In every living thing there is the desire for love.” That’s the truth. Everyone—you, your boss, your favorite co-worker, and your least favorite co-worker—are all human beings who want to love and be loved, in one way or another.
We all try to get love in different ways (some of us, in not so healthy ways!). Your co-worker’s irritating need to constantly take credit for everything and be the center of attention might be born from a place of deep personal insecurity. In other words, her love tank might be running low and garnering external praise and attention is the only way she knows how to fill it.
In every situation, try to remain compassionate and remember that, ultimately, we’re all just trying to get our emotional needs met in the best way we know how.
Go forth. Do the best work that you can. It’s okay to not like someone—and it’s okay if someone doesn’t like you. It doesn’t make either of you bad or wrong. Just different people with different preferences and different skills and attributes to offer the world.
It can be tough to predict which situations or topics of conversation might make someone else might feel weird, and it can be even more difficult to pick up on the subtle signs someone is uncomfortable around you. And yet, the more we can pay attention to their body language, the more seamless our social interactions can be.
The same goes for avoiding certain mistakes that can make others feel uncomfortable in the first place — since that’s rarely anyone’s intention. "Invading a individual’s personal ‘real estate’ is a great way to make someone uncomfortable," body language expert Maryann Karinch, author of The Art Of Body Talk, tells Bustle."Depending on culture, personal preference, and other factors, each of us has established what is acceptable proximity." And if you accidentally overstep that, you can make someone feel uncomfortable.
Another common mistake is talking too loud — especially if you happen to be telling an embarrassing or personal story in a pubic space. If you catch yourself possibly making others uncomfortable, it’s OK. We’ve all done it. And Karinch says all you have to do is apologize. It’s all about being aware, and making little adjustments. But it’s also important to note that someone’s discomfort may not be your fault — some people may be uncomfortable in social situations to begin with, so it’s important to take this into account when reading people’s body language.
If you notice some of the signs below, experts say it may be time to back up a bit or give someone their space.
They’re Flinching Or Wincing
Being stuck in an uncomfortable situation is never fun, and it can even cause people to literally wince. "When you make someone uncomfortable and they don’t want you to know, they will flinch or wince slightly," nonverbal communication expert Alison Henderson tells Bustle. "The flinch will be a quick contraction of the torso away from you. The wince will be a facial expression where they quickly squint the eyes," she says. "You may think they just stubbed their toe or gave themselves a paper cut because it is like they are verbally saying, ‘ouch.’" If you pick up on this, take note of what may have caused this reaction. As Karinch mentioned, a quick apology will suffice to put the moment past you.
Looking desperate can be a real turn-off to someone you are attracted to. It is the romantic equivalent to trying too hard, making you seem insecure and unable to enjoy being single. The implications for these characteristics include being a clingy girlfriend who cannot bear to spend time with anyone but you. Not looking desperate takes time to learn, commitment to change and a moderate amount of temporary discomfort.
Most people can identify a person who has a high level of self-confidence but it is a bit more difficult to define self-confidence itself. Self-confident people are not egotistical. In fact, self-confidence is equated with humility and the confidence that you are not perfect, explains the University of Illinois in their online guide, “Self-Confidence.” You can build your self-confidence when you emphasize your strengths, when you take chances, and when you use positive self-talk and consistently evaluate yourself. Building your level of confidence can help you feel less inclined to resort to behaviors that show people you are desperate.
Like anything else, too much flirting is too much of a good thing and can make you appear desperate. The key to flirting with someone you are attracted to is to be aware of the timing, frequency, duration, location and response. Avoid flirting in places where it is not appropriate, such as at work during office hours. When you do flirt, do so in a private place, without distraction and without being obvious. Flirting in a way that is not desperate is not obvious and can include a gentle, brief touch of the arm, a friendly smile or a genuine compliment.
Take an Interest in His Interests
Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, and asking questions can provide you with plenty of information that you can use to express interest without seeming desperate. You cannot expect to share every interest but finding out what someone enjoys opens doors for conversation and shared activities. Asking questions about his interests also takes the pressure off him to participate in more intimate conversation. Stick to brief discussions, especially if you are not familiar with the specifics of his particular interests. Ask about his interests without expecting an invitation to participate or attend an event with him.
Have a Life
You’re less effective with anyone else unless you are comfortable in your own company. This can be difficult, especially when your natural inclination is to impulsively attach to someone. This tendency is borne out of your upbringing and characterizes a lack of security that comes from within. If you’re attracted to someone, one of the most attractive traits of people is their level of independence. This takes a lot of pressure off a potential partner, who might otherwise be risking their own independence if they pursue a relationship with you. Becoming independent requires taking more risks and spending time and becoming more comfortable with yourself and with your freedom.
Once you have spent time getting to know yourself and feel more comfortable in your own company, it is time to share yourself with the world. For the person you are attracted to, this is the process of simply being in their company occasionally and putting aside your expectations as much as possible. You will respond and react very differently if you do not place undue pressure on yourself to be exactly who that person needs. The object of your interest will be naturally attracted to you, without your having to take steps to get and keep their attention.
So, you’re just not into one of the people you supervise. It happens to almost every manager at some point in his or her career.
Some people keep a first line of defense locked in their desk drawer (think:chocolate). Others quit. Some yell. More gossip. While some of these might feel insanely productive in the moment, none are long-term solutions.
So, what should you do if a person you manage is driving you insane?
Below is a list of nine professional moves you can make when you find yourself in that very situation.
1. Consider This a Leadership Opportunity
This is not the time to rant on Facebook, Instead, step back and think of it as a chance to sharpen your leadership skills. Ask yourself: Have I made enough time for this employee? Have I clearly defined for him what “good” looks like? Have I given him feedback on what he should be working on improving? Bosses tell people what to do, but leaders take charge of a situation and find a solution.
2. Be Upfront About How You Prefer Things
Be crystal clear about where you stand on not just important matters, but also on nit-picky pet peeves. If you prefer email to in-person questions, tell her. If you’d like presentation drafts in at least a week early, say it. People can’t read minds, and it’s an easy mistake to hold someone accountable without having first set the expectation. So many managers forget to communicate these little things (that end up driving us crazy), in addition to the more pressing matters. With that said, you can’t expect anyone to accommodate all your needs.
3. Remember You’re the Boss for a Reason
I don’t mean cross your arms and wave your finger around because you’re in charge. More than likely, you’re in a management position because you have a proven success record, or have earned a shot at it. So long as this employee isn’t causing actual heart palpitations, take a breather and remember you’re in control of the situation. Don’t let her ruffle your feathers. Rather, make a deliberate plan to fix the situation and see it through.
4. Get at the Heart of the Matter
The truth can set you free. Isolate your source of frustration. If it’s performance-based, develop a plan to address the pitfalls and help him attack it to the best you can. If you still feel like you’re hand-holding or staying until 11 PM to clean up his mess, than make notes and use them when evaluating the employee at the appropriate time. And if it is interpersonal, like he wears your ex’s cologne or microwaves fish for lunch—then you’re going to have to acknowledge how silly that is and work at letting it go.
5. Find Her Strong Suit
More often than not, her work product is a reflection on you, so you’ll want to find something she can execute on well. The better her work, the better you’ll look, and the more you’ll start appreciate having her on your team. So find her strength and use it. And if you truly do not think she has one and are puzzled as to how she was hired, talk to your manager—there might be something you didn’t know or was never communicated to you. For example: Maybe you haven’t been utilizing her actual skills yet.
6. Find Common Ground
As much as it may pain you at first, try and find common ground. You must have something you can both agree on. For example, you were both drawn to the same industry and company—so start there. Then you can move on to TV shows, books, even a love of cats. The more similarities you can find, the more you’ll start seeing him as a person—and less of thorn in your side.
7. Put On a Good Face
Literally. Even if it’s a poker face. You don’t need to high five every time you pass, but use a friendly wave to call her over, smile when you pass by on your way to the printer, ask how her weekend went on Monday morning. Challenge yourself to make sure this person never knows how you really feel.
8. Check Yourself
This may sound like advice for a dating column but I think it’s applicable here—there comes a point when you can’t change someone, so try changing your attitude, or perspective, rather than asking or even expecting this employee to change who he is as a person.
9. Escalate It
You’ve tried all of the above and nothing’s working. You truly don’t believe that you can manage this person for one more day. So, the next step is bringing the issue to your boss. But before you do that, make sure you have proof that it’s not personal. Document specific examples and instances first. Remember, this is someone’s career at stake, so make sure this is truly your only option.
Let’s face it: You’re bound to cross paths with folks you just don’t care for throughout your career. It’s not a reflection on you—and to be fair—it’s not always a reflection on them. It’s human nature, but we’ve got to learn to deal with it and the sooner you can develop habits and a style of management to engage and work with the less than ideal coworker, the better you’ll be for it down the road.
The world is a cruel, cruel place. Just because you like someone doesn’t mean they’ll like you back. But what if you’re absolutely sure this person is into you and they’re just not showing it? If you’ve been stressed while looking for signs he’s pretending not to like you, you are not alone. It’s a tricky thing to suss out. Plenty of people have a history of ignoring their crushes for a whole slew of reasons ranging from the totally benign to the manipulative and cruel. You may even be guilty of ignoring someone you are attracted to yourself.
Dr. Jess O’Reilly, Toronto-based sexologist and host of the Sex With Dr. Jess podcast, says that when a guy ignores you but secretly likes you, or when a girl tries to play it cool but she actually is developing feelings, it could be because they get a kick out of leaving you hanging. “Some people ignore their crushes because they’re playing games. And that doesn’t create a good basis for any type of relationship — from the casual to the long-term,” she tells Elite Daily. “Playing games by ignoring someone you like is untoward and manipulative, and it often results in misunderstanding and hurt feelings.”
But not everyone is ignoring someone they’re attracted to just to get inside their head. For a lot of people, it’s about deeper insecurities.
In the eyes of many an admirer, potential rejection is the ultimate terror. It’s not uncommon for someone to hold back their emotions until they have firm confirmation that the person they’re interested in feels the same way they do. In their minds, it’s easier to ignore someone they’re attracted to than to go out on a limb and risk being struck down.
Nathaniel*, a 24-year-old based in Brooklyn, says he’s guilty of ignoring people he likes because sometimes it’s just easier that way. “I think that I’ve ignored a crush in order to avoid any sort of. pain or discomfort? It’s easier to preemptively cut it off than to face potential rejection,” he tells Elite Daily.
Yara*, a 25-year-old in Manhattan, is also guilty of exhibiting this exact behavior. “For me it’s half nerves and half wanting to appear cool,” she tells Elite Daily. “It makes me feel somehow desirable for being a little aloof. There’s also the fear of, ‘Oh god, how stupid will I look if I show that I care and they don’t reciprocate?’”
While Yara and Nathaniel are certainly not unique for ignoring their crushes, they both see some value in amending their approaches. For Nathaniel, giving his crushes the cold shoulder was a calling-card of his former high school self. Now that he’s grown up, he doesn’t feel the pull to employ the tactic. “It was the move in high school,” he says. “Not so much ‘ignoring’. more like recognizing a crush, deciding to not act on it, and then mildly going out of my way to not work on a class project with said individual. But now I think I’ve learned to be a little more forthcoming.”
Yara adds that, after a few too many instances of missing out on something great, she’s realized that ignoring her crushes doesn’t work for her. “I’ve lost out on several opportunities where folks later told me they had been interested but had backed off because they assumed I wasn’t,” Yara says. “It’s the curse of having grown up in the manic-pixie dream girl/chill girl era.”
But being straightforward with a crush can be really intimidating. Plenty of people aren’t quite sure how to process their attraction to another person — particularly if it’s a crush on a friend or someone with whom they share an existing relationship that could be tainted by romance — and so they keep their feelings to themselves instead of opening the can of worms that goes along with divulging their desires. “Some people ignore crushes because they don’t know how to approach them,” Dr. O’Reilly adds.
Guess what, though? That doesn’t mean the relationship is moot. If you have feelings for someone and you think they might reciprocate, Dr. O’Reilly encourages you to take charge of the situation instead of waiting around for them to make the first move. “If you think someone likes you and is ignoring you, if you like them too, go ahead and approach them,” she tells Elite Daily.
People ignore their crushes for all sorts of reasons. It’s OK to be nervous about confessing your love to someone, especially if you’re not sure how they’re going to take the news. The name of the game when it comes to ignoring or being honest with crushes? It’s cool to care. Also, you miss 100% of the shots you don’t take. And whatever other motivational poster you want to add to the mix.
*Names have been changed
Dr. Jess O’Reilly, sexologist and host of Sex With Dr. Jess
Editor’s Note: This story has been updated by Elite Daily Staff.
Do you sometimes doubt whether you really have what it takes to run a freelance business?
Don’t worry, you’re not alone. You’re suffering from imposter syndrome, and it’s very common. Most people whose professional lives are on an upward trajectory suffer from it at some point.
You can take heart from two things:
- The genuinely incompetent don’t suffer from imposter syndrome. If they actually recognized they weren’t up to the job, they’d deal with the ways in which they fall short.
In other words, your feelings of doubt are good. They encourage you to grow and learn.
- As long as you act like a professional, no one will notice. You can “fake it ’til you make it” and learn on the job.
How Acting Professional Is Good For Your Business
Not only is acting professional a good disguise for your feelings of being a fraud, it also adds value to your service. In fact, I’d go as far as to say that for most clients, your professionalism is more important than your skill level, as long as you’re competent at the service you offer.
Think about it from a client’s perspective: would you rather work with a freelancer who’s a creative genius, but who rarely answers your emails, never meets deadlines, and sometimes completely forgets about projects they’ve been assigned? Or would you rather work with someone who’s a solid professional, delivering quality work on time and communicating well?
I’m not denying that there’s a place in the world for the haphazard and forgetful genius. But most businesses would rather work with a reliable, steady professional.
Being professional adds value to your services. Act like a professional, and you’ll quickly build up a family of clients who value your work and pass your name on to their networks.
How to Act Like a Professional – Even When You Don’t Feel Like One
The good news: acting like a professional requires no special skills and only a little knowledge of the industry in which you’re working.
With some basic principles in place and a desire to learn, you can act professionally with any client, from a one-man-band to a Fortune 500 blue chip company.
Here are our top tips on acting like a pro:
- Meet deadlines. If you learn nothing else from this article, remember this: clients love freelancers who deliver on deadline. Prove yourself reliable, and you’ll get hired over and over again.
Make deadlines sacrosanct, even if that means putting other areas of your life on hold. If you frequently find yourself panicking at the last minute to meet deadlines, you’ll find time management software such as Cashboard helpful. Tracking your time helps you complete projects on deadline and gives you an idea of how much work you can realistically tackle in any given week.
- Keep your word. Don’t make promises you can’t keep. When you’ve said you’ll do something, do it.
Depending on the work you do, you may be working via contract. If that’s the case, then make sure you read contracts before you sign them, so you know exactly what’s expected of you.
If in doubt about what you should do, ask. Clients will respect you for seeking to do the best job you can.
- Be friendly. Being professional doesn’t mean you should act standoffish. You want your clients to look forward to hearing from you because you add a ray of sunshine to their day.
Remember your manners every time you talk to clients. And you should follow their lead when deciding how formal to be in your communications.
Invoice promptly. Being sloppy with your invoices indicates to clients that you don’t give your best to everything you do. If you find invoicing a hassle, consider using invoicing software to make light work of sending invoices.
Dress professionally. From our teenage years, we all know how important it is to look the part if you want to fit in. Donning a professional outfit when you meet with clients helps you feel more confident and reflects well on your business.
The way you dress doesn’t only apply to the clothes you wear. Make sure your website looks the part, too.
- Use the right language and jargon. This is where you might have to do a little learning before approaching potential clients. Knowing the right words to use will make you appear as part of the in-crowd, which is exactly what you want.
You can usually learn how your clients talk with a little research. Check out their websites. Take a look at online forums where people like your clients hang out. You’ll quickly pick up on the right things to say.
Still feel unsure? Then use my favorite tactic: listen. Ask good questions, then sit back and let your client do the talking. You’ll learn their way of speaking, and you’ll discover what they need and how you can help them.
Your Feelings Are the Real Fraud
Now you know how easy it is to act like a professional, you’ve learned that you don’t have to feel like a fraud.
If anything, it’s your feeling of being a fraud that’s the real con artist here. So stop listening to your doubts, and start acting like the pro that you are.
Written by David Masters
David Masters helps businesses find their sweet spot of creativity, productivity and making money. He’s been earning his bread as an online business writer since 2008.
Face it. we all deal with people whom we dislike and doing so means that we feel the emotions associated with dislike. Even though disliking others seems to separates “them” from “us,” in fact, “we” are connected through the experience.
Consider someone that you find irritating, unpleasant, or truly horrible, and briefly focus on the adjectives (irritating etc) and not noun (the person). The adjectives reflect your tastes and perspectives. They’re subjective, and provide information to help you deal the emotion directly. along the lines of “If you don’t like so-and-so, hang out with other people.”
On the other hand, sometimes, another person (the noun) can seem to trigger an almost visceral personal reaction – almost a repulsion – that goes beyond rational explanation and feels bigger or deeper than pure subjective opinion. It’s not totally objective (because you still experience it), but there’s something else at play. and dealing this type of encounter can be much more difficult.
Fortunately, such reactions are usually few and far between. Unfortunately, they tend to happen at the most inopportune moments or in the midst of the most complicated, intractable situations. For example, maybe you have an inexplicably strong, negative reaction to your sibling’s new romantic partner or your kid’s new best friend. You want to like the person, for the sake of your sibling or child and because life would be a whole lot simpler if only you could. However, if your mind and body rebel with the warning of dislike, you’ve got a complex situation on your hands and a little mindfulness can help.
Here are a couple of tips to help you deal:
- Listen to your gut: Focus your awareness on your body and learn from a language without words. Maybe you get a queasy feeling when things aren’t right, and, like me, you’ve learned to take that warning seriously? When I don’t, my head starts hurting and then my mouth gets dry, and then. well, you can imagine. Responding early and effectively is a much better option. If my gut tells me that I need some distance from someone or something, I do well to get some space. This applies even if it’s inconvenient, and there’s almost always a way to make it happen.
- Notice your thoughts: Pay attention to your mind, and notice whether your thoughts provide insight that constructively reduce your discomfort or if you’re trying to convince yourself that everything’s okay when it isn’t. I’ve learned that discerning the difference can be critically important, such as when I experience a kind of “knee-jerk” dislike for a new acquaintance based on my perception of some similarity to another – and totally unrelated – person. When this happens, my wave of dislike is neither constructive nor fair, and recognizing what’s happening is the key to getting over it. On the other hand, if my brain is trying to convince my heart that I ought to like someone just because my sibling or friend does. then I’m giving myself bad advice. Sure, I need to be polite with that person, there’s no need to force myself to like someone if I don’t.
- Accept when it’s your issue: Pause and consider what’s happening and why. If you dislike someone because that person’s personality or qualities are not to your taste (but still socially-acceptable), then your dislike is your issue and you need to decide what to do based on other considerations. So, if I don’t like my best friend’s new romantic partner, but I love her and can see that the new guy isn’t harmful (just annoying), then maybe I can be more patient. If not, well, I’ll give them some space, respectfully.
- Acknowledge when there’s something else going on: Consider that your sense of dislike might be a real warning of danger. Sometimes our kids bring home new friends whose behavior we, as parents, recognize as dangerous. We can’t choose our kids’ friends, but we can make clear boundaries in our homes and we certainly owe our children the respect of explanations. Pay attention to signs of danger, and promote protection. Such clues are priceless, and acting on them requires confidence as well as delicacy.
There’s more to disliking someone than feelings, and there’s good reason to reflect on the root of the emotion. Is it an expression of personal taste or a clue about more profound danger? Does the most constructive response involve dealing with dislike, personally (within yourself)? Or is there something that must be done regarding the external situation and even the other person? Clarity is key to applying some wisdom here. And while there’s no simple solution to dealing with dislike, bringing mindfulness to the process can help.