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Thursday, February 5, 2015

People Who Drive You Crazy


People who drive you crazy can appear in many guises in your life. Think of the innocent toddler who doesn't stop asking why. That's a rather marvelous way to be driven crazy. But what about an employee who not only doesn't ask when he/she didn't understand the instructions, but who - on the next occasion that the instructions aren't understood again, and despite your request that you be asked to clarify said doubts - makes a mistake again. Regardless of whether you then decide to let him/her go, the point is that this behavior has driven you crazy. And there is something about this that bears examination.

But first let's look at a few more examples of people who drive you crazy. What about the friend (I call them 'butterfly friends') who asks you a question because he/she knows you are very knowlegeable about the subject, and after barely a sentence or two into your explanation, you are regularly interrupted in order to go off on a red herring, and from that point forward there's no getting back to the original subject. There is most definitely something about this that bears examination as well.

Another scenario might be the friend who always calls to cancel at the last minute. What about the person who smiles at you to your face, and makes you believe they are on the same page as you, and that they like you, and then whispers half-truths about you to one or two of your close friends? Or the person who is always running late? Or the one who asks you for advice and when you give it - to the best of your ability - makes it evident that you have somehow crossed a line, but won't tell you how or why? A final scenario about people who drive us crazy might be the person who cuts into the conversation you're having with another without the slightest apology, and furthermore, simply continues talking. I imagine you can come up with a good number of your own examples.

As I wrote earlier, there is most definitely something to examine here. And if you're thinking that it's about asking yourself why you have such ... fill-in-the-blank ... friends or acquaintances, that's not it. In fact, it's precisely the presence of these people in your life that drive you crazy, that allows you to learn something about yourself, and perhaps once learned, you will no longer 'need' their presence in your life.

Let's look at some examples: the employee who doesn't understand instructions, doesn't ask, and hence makes mistakes. It might be that your own methods of explaining are not clear. Or perhaps it would be useful if you asked your employee to repeat the instructions, or if you asked him/her if there were any doubts to then ask you to clarify. Perhaps your employee is very slow, but perhaps you assume too quickly that everyone understands and completes everything as efficently and quickly as you do.

What about your butterfly friends? They may not have much of an attention span, but was that really why you chose them? Wasn't it much more about the purity of their hearts? About the love and tenderness they always show you? So think less about how irrational their minds are and more about how filled with warmth their hearts are, and how good that makes you feel.

To the friend who always cancels at the last moment? Or the person who is always running late? The one who always interrupts? Maybe you need to work on having healthier boundaries.

The person who smiles at you, letting you believe you're on the same page and then talks about you behind your back? Maybe you need to stop trying to have a great relationship with everyone. Maybe there are just some people out there who will never like you, and obviously, if they're talking about you behind your back, you certainly don't want them in your world.

The person who asks you for advice, and then doesn't like it? Maybe you need to choose your words more carefully. Or perhaps you need to choose the people to whom you offer advice more carefully - even if they're the ones who are asking.

This is all a learning process. This is all valuable. It was Pema Chodron who said: If we learn to open our hearts, anyone, including the people who drive us crazy, can be our teacher. So by allowing situations like these and so many others to be ripe with opportunity as opposed to upsetting, angering, or even depressing you, learn from them, enrich yourself  thanks to them, and let the other person get on with their own life. After all, you can only be in charge of yourself.

Image: The Bridge of Immortals situated in Huangshan, a mountain range in the southern Anhui province of eastern China

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Also visit my book website: www.gabriellakortsch.com where you may download excerpts or read quotations from any of my books. My new book Emotional Unavailability & Neediness: Two Sides of the Same Coin is now out globally on Amazon in print & Kindle. You can also obtain it (or any of my other books) via Barnes & Noble.

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