We may have homes and private spaces, but society’s whispers can even penetrate the sun. Think about the scariest thing on this Earth. I’ll give you a hint. It’s not tarantulas. It’s… (you guessed it)…
The word “people” strikes fear in the hearts of aliens all around Elon Musk’s dreams. In this post, we’re going to relieve some of that fear, by bringing you the most important people skill. Let’s dig in.
THE MOST IMPORTANT PEOPLE SKILL: SPEND SOME TIME NOT HOLDING BACK DESPITE BEING DISLIKED BY OTHERS
The main idea
Life moves at a breathless pace. Even during emptiness, depression, and no measurable social life on the outside, regrets and broken dreams continue to travel at light speed. At the end of all that, it feels better to do something relaxing rather than uncomfortable, at least when there is free time. Fair enough. But the truth is that holding back to avoid the discomfort of being disliked by others destroys comfort in the long run. We’ll explain this point with an example. Let’s look at a conversation between a certain Jane and Susy:
Here, you can see that Jane is okay with not being liked by Susy. On the other hand, Susy prefers to be liked by Jane. Now ask yourself: who is more relaxed? Well, they are both relaxed for the moment, because the conversation ended quickly. But what about the long run? In the long run, Susy would feel like she has to be extra-careful not to ask Jane any questions. So, even though Susy managed to relax for that one conversation, in the long run, she would be uncomfortable from being extra careful around Jane.
Do you see the main idea here? We’ll state it once again for you. People can become a very uncomfortable experience if you regularly hold back just to avoid being disliked by them. It may be relaxing in that moment, but it won’t be relaxing in the long run.
But, relationships are about compromise!
Yes, they are. We’re not saying that you never hold back. We’re only saying that you don’t hold back to avoid being disliked. Instead, you hold back when there is a need. To understand this, let’s look at another conversation between the same Jane and Susy:
In this conversation, you can see that Jane is still annoyed about dealing with more questions from Susy. (FYI, it also looks like Jane is annoyed about Susy being too dependent on her). But Jane holds back. Not to be liked by Susy, but to show some affection to Susy in a time of need.
So, again, it’s true that relationships are about compromise. But that compromise should not be because you can’t handle it when others don’t like something about you. That compromise should come from recognizing the need for gentleness and affection.
Some tips for the beginner
About point (1), the line between “I don’t like it” and “It hurts me” can get fuzzy at times. Use your judgment. I knew this one couple where the man loved gaming and the woman couldn’t stand that. In this case, the woman did not like the man’s gaming, and she was hurt that the man would do it anyway. In the end, there’s always a degree of “I’m hurt” in “I don’t like.” But that doesn’t mean that you only do things that others like. Sometimes, it’s just not a good fit. If a man loves gaming and a woman can’t stand that, it’s not a good fit.
In the same example, if the woman came home wanting to talk about something important, and the man said “Let me finish gaming first. Then, I’ll talk to you” then that’s obviously hurtful. It would be a case of the man not recognizing the need to hold back out of affection.
So, yeah, use your judgment.
That’s it for this write up. Let us know about your thoughts in the comments below.