January 20, 2018

Hurt People Hurt People

You Have2Wonder

Grumpy. Edgy. Angry. Or just plain ornery.

Sometimes you come across a person who just rubs you the wrong way. It happens to all of us in business (or education or healthcare or not-for-profit foundation work). That’s because those people are everywhere. Hopefully you aren’t one of them! =)

Face Staring Intensely
I just have "Resting Disgruntled Face".


Recently, a few teammates at B2C Enterprises met with someone who came off as bristled before they could even mutter a “Hello” to that person. When they got back to the office they asked me what could make a person act that way.

Surprisingly, I actually had an answer.

The Answer4Us

Hurt people hurt people.

Sometimes they are protecting their newly-acquired territory or their lower-than-it-should-be esteem. Often, they are themselves the target of some disdain, drama, or workplace anxiety. No matter the cause of their consternation, they are undoubtedly hurtful when they react to your questions, needs, or even your very presence with vitriol.

So, what do you do? Whether you want to or not, you sometimes have to work with these people regardless of the circumstances. You may as well have a plan – some steps to help you down the treacherous path.

  1. Take a deep breath. (Simple, but helpful. Oh, and don’t let them see that’s what you’re doing.)
  2. Listen to what they are saying – not how they are saying it.
  3. Confirm that you are hearing what they want to communicate.
  4. Remember it’s likely their sores that are making them sore. (It actually helps a little bit.)
  5. Be professional and take care of your business… then move along.

It’s tempting to try to brighten their day. Sometimes you can and, if you can, you should. Don’t be surprised if you can’t build a bridge with some of these people, though, and don’t feel defeated if you can’t.

After all, if there’s a bridge, then there’s a way for that negativity to come across to you.

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