A client recently confronted a senior employee about some behaviors that she needed to tune up. He was nice about it, talked about her strengths and then mentioned an area that she needed to improve in. Her weakness was widely known by the team, and needed to be addressed. She was apparently the only one in the dark about it. She was greatly offended by his comments and flared back. Next day, she called in sick. Day after that, sick again. Next day, gone. Quit. Done.
Obviously there’s more to this story that we don’t know about. But it illustrates an interesting phenomenon that you’ve probably experienced before.
Have you ever had an interaction with someone where they took huge offense to something you said that to you seemed like no big deal?
Think of it like this: imagine that person had a splinter in their hand, and then they shook hands with you. There’s no question it was a painful experience for them, but was it you that hurt them, or are they just hurt? Were you the cause of the pain, or did you simply touch a sore spot that you had nothing to do with creating?
Sometimes it has nothing to do with you and the best thing you can do is to apologize and forget it. There’s great consolation in the phrase, “this is not about me.”
People who hurt the most, hurt the most.
Or to put it another way, “Hurting people hurt others and are easily hurt too.”
Don’t take it personally.
Have a great week!