Guest contribution by RomeoRevamped, more of his articles can be found at https://medium.com/@RomeoRevamped
Oh, you’ve done it now. You left and told the girl you just met to smile more. Or maybe you gave the person you didn’t know was your new manager some nasty management comments.
It would be nice if every encounter with someone would take place like in a movie. They meet and instantly enter into a funny but mysterious joke, which inevitably leads to you messing around in the closet.
Unfortunately, this is rarely the case. Sometimes things start to get uncomfortable. Sometimes you don’t know what to say, and in the end you say the wrong thing. Damn, sometimes you’re a little bit drunk. Watching someone’s face get angry in the middle of the conversation can be a lousy pause, but not one you can’t overcome.
THE BAD IMPRESSION
First of all, we would all benefit if we could read the room a little better. Don’t be the one to ask loud questions or comment on a person’s religion in a quiet office without respecting their beliefs. Observations of the environment can give you context about what mental space a person is in and what they expect to see. Asking questions before your comment can also save you a lot of trouble.
Nevertheless mistakes happen and wrong assumptions are made. Usually, a bad impression makes someone think that you are someone you are not. You showed them a side of you, but that’s not the side that the situation requires. Now you’ve confused this page with your whole character. You don’t get a second chance at a first impression, but you have a chance to surprise them with a second impression.
Empathy and review
If you’ve insulted, sneaked out, hurt, or judged someone, you can quickly correct them if you recognize them. Try to put yourself in the other person’s shoes as you speak to them. Feel how this interaction should go if you were.
It is not always obvious that the conversation has gone to the left. If you can’t figure it out, it’s usually okay to ask. “Did I somehow offend you?” “I feel like we got off on the wrong foot, don’t we?” You’d be surprised at how easily some people would be willing to bury the hatchet.
Call it out
If you’re not the type “Talk it out” and want to get straight to the topic instead, that’s fine. If you pronounce your mistake safely, the interaction can change immediately. Don’t be afraid to make fun of an uncomfortable or embarrassing situation that caused you. If you can both laugh at it, you can walk past it. If everything is open, you are now on the same page again.
Being uncomplicated and laughing together will break the ice and make it less necessary to be so formal. When you get to know someone, you feel like walking a tightrope. It is much more convenient to talk to someone you have made a friend of.
Apologize if necessary
It is generally appreciated when a person is confident enough to admit when he is wrong. Now is not the time to let pride or embarrassment deter you from doing the right thing. Ultimately, the other person will like and respect you more because of that.
That doesn’t mean you should apologize for every wrong turn. If you feel that you have made someone react in a way that you did not intend, you should correct it.
It is often better to change the context of the conversation than to continue the same downward spiral path. If you cut too hard, try to cut energy considerably. When things start to get uncomfortable, try to be more direct and fun. If you have offended them, compliment them here and there.
Changing direction works well if you think you have accidentally insulted someone. Perhaps you have mistaken a birthmark for an evil bruise or wrongly assumed your age. Get out of the way quickly and show them that you are not the biggest fool in the world.
You may need to take more comprehensive measures from time to time. If you can, try to trick your friends into liking you. You have more influence on them. You will likely get into a conversation or be introduced to another meeting with them by these friends. Even if they only see their friend’s good reaction to you, it will be enough to give you a second life.
There must be special circumstances that are not so black and white. These require a little more effort. Maybe a little finesse. If you navigate correctly, the result is the same.
Whoa, I don’t know what you said, but maybe you will have an ear. Chances are you really pissed them off. It is important to remain calm if you want to change this situation. Even if you are not entirely wrong, you must try not to get upset. Most people find it more difficult (not impossible) to argue if they don’t have a participant on the other end. Once it’s over and you’ve calmed them down, you can say it and try the options above.
Of course, you should know when to move away from someone like this. If screaming and flogging is the only thing that gets someone’s attention, trust me, you don’t want that attention.
It’s not your fault
There will be times when you have tried everything to reach someone, but you still fail. Time to consider whether your view of you might come from things you can’t control. It is unfortunate, but it happens.
Things like race, religion, lifestyle, etc. can sometimes lead to misconceptions. Someone could impose on you a stereotype or prejudice that is undeserved. If this seems to be the case and you still want that person to like you, you can only continue to be your best self. I would not recommend changing your behavior for a person like this. That would compromise your integrity. It may take a long time, but they can come at some point. Once again, sometimes the best option is to go away.
Trust is key for all social things; everything else is a door. Dealing with people, be it romantic, at work or in any other way, is a balancing act. You need to know when to be flexible and when to have clear boundaries. Try not to focus on every little mistake. Most things are either forgiven or forgotten in the long run. There is no need for stress in the first steps.
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