How to Deal with People

productivity Jul 08, 2021
How to Deal with People

Dealing with people can be a joy, but it can also be challenging.

In this post, I will share three simple ideas for how you can deal with people.

1. Boundaries

Many people I deal with as clients or people who DM me on social media feel like they're doormats, and they're the ones to whom everyone brings their problems. People stop by their offices, DM, call, or send emails. Why? Because they have not established any boundaries.

It would help if you began setting boundaries. If you have no boundaries currently, you can't just go in like an invading army, like General Patton, and say, "I'm setting up boundaries; this is how it will be." Don't do that. You have to be professional, courteous, and kind.

You may have to retrain some people because they probably are not used to boundaries, at least not boundaries with people who are their peers. With people above them, their bosses, yes, they respect boundaries.

Let's say you work in a cubicle, and people constantly come by say, "Hey, you got a minute?" or "Do you have five minutes?" or "Can I ask you a question?"

It's human to say, "Yes, I would love to help you" or "Yes. Come on in." You're saying to them, "Yes, come on in. What I'm working on is not as important as you."

Doing this affects you and your productivity.

If you don't have time, say you're in the middle of something; say, "You know what? I would love to help you. But I'm working on a project right now, and I have a deadline, and I want to do an excellent job. Tell you what, I will take a break in an hour. Can we get together then?"

If you've never done this before, it will feel weird. You'll think, "Well, why can't I just answer the question?" Because it's probably not going to be a simple question, and it's most likely going to be something similar to, "Well, let me give you some background." And as soon as they say that or something similar, such as, "let me start from the beginning," it will be a very long conversation.

Think about the boundaries you need to set in your life, both professionally and personally. Doing so is going to help you be a more productive human being.

If you've ever invested in a coach, then you know there are boundaries. If the coaching sessions are 45 minutes long, most coaches don't allow the calls to go beyond the time limit. If you book a call from 9:00 to 9:45 and show up at 9:30, you get a 15-minute call. Those are called boundaries.

Most people struggle with boundaries. Start small. Many people have boundaries at home and boundaries with their friends but don't have boundaries at work. When you have boundaries, leaders will respect you.

What small boundary can you implement to help you build your boundaries muscle? 

When you start small and see that the world doesn't end, and you don't get fired, you create another boundary (or strengthen a weak boundary). Just pick an area in your life where you need to establish a boundary and watch the difference.

2. Don't assume.

If you're unsure what someone says something to you or that you read in an email or a DM, ask for clarification.

When you're sending a DM or an email, it's not the same as when you're in front of them. You can't read their body language. The sender may be joking, and you may think they're mad at you. Make sure you ask for clarification.

Please don't assume you know what they intend. If you're not 100% clear, whether it's your boss, peer, a subordinate, the lady at the supermarket, the crossing guard, whatever, ask.

This is one of the things I'm dealing with my 81-year-old dad. I recently visited him, and I noticed he took all these pills every day. I said, "Dad, why are you taking all these pills?" He replied, "The doctor says I need them." I replied, "Dad, time out. It's important to know why you're taking these pills. You probably need them all but make sure you understand." I think he understood me. When they get into the 70s and 80s, many people are set in their ways. 

It's not just about your doctor. If your CPA,  boss, friend, mastermind friend, or neighbor, doesn't know who it is, if you're not sure, do not assume you know what they're saying. Ask for clarification.

Now. I did say in point two, don't assume. But now I'm going to ask you to...

3. Assume

This is going to sound kind of weird after what I just wrote but stick with me. I assume that my fellow human beings are loving, caring, and kind people, and I don't assume people are jerks. We have nearly 8 billion people on this planet, and I believe that over 99% of the people are excellent.

Unfortunately, those people don't get the publicity on the news or social media, which seems to be reserved for all the troublemakers. When I meet someone for the first time, whether in person, on social media, or via my website, I assume they are friendly people and I assume that they're trustworthy people.

Maybe I shouldn't be thinking this in this day and age, but I assume the best out of people. However, you get on the naughty list quickly if you violate my trust.

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