Prickly Like The People

This ball on the bench is prickly like a lot of people.


Say or do something that rubs them the wrong way and you got a sharp aching thorn in your side.


Hence the saying about handling them with “kid gloves” made from fine soft kid leather. 


Handle tactfully and with special consideration or else get stung badly and suffer the pain and consequences. 😉


(Credit Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Pyramid of Emotional Intelligence

I really like this Pyramid of Emotional Intelligence (EI). 


It starts at the bottom with your own personal self-awareness–knowing who you are, including your beliefs, values, priorities, needs, and dreams, and being able to express this. 


Next level is your personal self-control–being able to manage your feelings, control your actions, and cope with challenges and adversity. 


Moving to the social level is then social awareness–having a consciousness and respect of others, their feelings, thoughts, motivations, needs, desires, and rights.


Finally, at the top is relationship management–the ability to actively listen and empathize, assert and influence, be patience and unconditionally accept differences, develop trust, give and take, collaborate, and manage conflict.


Most people work on developing these areas of the EI their whole life, and it is definitely a pyramid worthy of the climb. 😉


(Credit Graphic: Andy Blumenthal)

OFNR Communications Model

This is a useful 4-part communications process (developed by Dr. Marshall Rosenberg):


1. Observations:  Tell the other person the behavior you observe from them that is making you uncomfortable. 

When I Observe…


2. Feelings:  Explain how the person’s behavior makes you feel (happy, sad, angry, annoyed, excited, worried, scared, hurt, embarrassed, confused)

I feel…


3. Needs: Describe what you need from the other person (physiological, safety, social, esteem, self-actualization)

Because I need…


4. Requests: Ask them specifically what you’d like them to do.

Would you be willing to… 

It’s a way to make your feelings and needs known and ask nicely what you’d like from others. 


This provides a mechanism to give feedback and work with other people without being confrontational, threatening, dictatorial, or nasty. 


When I see you reading my blog, I feel happy, because I need to try to be a good person and good influence in this world. Would you be willing to share my blog with others? 😉


(Credit Photo: Andy Blumenthal and Colleague from Work)

Sometimes You Just Want To Say…

It funny, sometimes you just want to say…


Exactly what this ladies shirt says. 


My father used to say when certain people were nasty to him, he would just be nice to them.


And when they would still be really nasty to him then imperceptibly, quietly under his breath, he would say “F*** You.”


Ah, maybe not always so imperceptibly. LOL


Sure, we can’t always just come out and say it like this lady does boldly on her shirt.


Maybe it doesn’t help to use expletives, but sometimes some people can be such jerks that just saying it quietly is cathartic and truth-telling. 


Perhaps more important, saying it let’s you know that you still have  a moral compass and personal integrity, even if others around you have seriously compromised on theirs. :-)


(Credit Photo: Dannielle Blumenthal)

Ghosting – How Rude!

So when I listen to the Kane Show in the morning on 99.5 FM, they frequently do this thing where they call someone to find out why they’ve ghosted their lover or friend. 


Invariably, it often turns out that there is someone else in that person’s life. 


The person is usually either too scared to confront the other person or is just a cheater and doesn’t want to tell the other person, instead wanting to “have their Kate and Edith too.”  LOL


So “ghosting” is where the person just disappears, cuts off contact, or goes incommunicado. 

It’s sort of an avoidance strategy. 


This leaves the other person not knowing what happened or why. 


It’s like the line just goes dead between the two people.  


Sometimes, one person is clingy or forces themselves on another in which case, the other person may feel smothered, and therefore repels or wants to run in the other direction. 


Other times, how do you tell someone that you just don’t like them anymore? 


Worse is if the person is cheating behind the other person’s back, hiding it, and denying it–that’s unforgivable!


When a person ghosts another, it’s sort of like at work when someone get’s marginalized. 


No one wants to give honest feedback to the other person, so instead for some people it’s just easier to avoid them and the topic  altogether. 


I think the point is not to hurt other people. 


The question is how do you cut the strings with someone you don’t like without getting into a huge, ugly confrontation?


Honesty is the best policy, and treating people the way you would want to be treated. 


But for some people who don’t take no for an answer, it’s understandable that you may just want to have the phone on busy signal or you attempt to break contact.


Relationships are tough, and when they go bad, ghosting without at least trying to end it nicely can not only be rude, but also it’s chicken to break it off as a ghost, and not a person. 😉


(Credit Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

When People Can’t Admit They’re Wrong

So he’s a story from the pool today…


I’m doing my laps minding my own business.


And this guy gets to the pool, sits down, and immediately pulls out his cellphone.


Then he proceeds to literally yell into his phone for probably a good half an hour. 


I’m doing my laps and I can hear this guy yelling:


– At his end of the pool 


– ALL the way at the opposite end of the pool


– With earplugs


– AND even underwater


And he goes on and on and on. 


Doesn’t stop for even a breath of air. 


Now, in all the years swimming, I’ve never had to approach someone about their behavior like this.


BUT this was too much as my head was pounding from his incessant yelling.


I waited until he finished his call. 


And it happened to coincide with me finishing my laps. 


I come out of the pool and grabbed my stuff. 


I have to pass him on the way out. 


And I’m still debating with myself whether this schlemiel is even worth it. 


My head is still throbbing from his yelling.


I stop in front of his chair. 


Now he’s pulled out a book and is trying to read. 


I say:

Excuse me.

He knows he did something wrong, and he barely looks up, trying to ignore me. 


I say again:

Excuse me. Did you intend for everyone at the pool to hear your ENTIRE conversation?


He starts murmuring something, and then says throwing it back on me:

What’s the problem?


So I say:

You were speaking so loud, I could hear you all the way on the opposite end of the pool.  I could even hear you under the water. 


He’s agitating now and he says:

Well, I was speaking to someone 85-years old who doesn’t hear well.  You get it?


So I say respectfully:

I am sorry that he doesn’t hear well, but does everyone else here around the pool also need to hear the conversation? 


Then he says:

So what–I don’t care if everyone hears.


I try one more time.

Do you see all these other people trying to read, rest, swim–do you at all care?


He still can’t get himself to come around, and instead doubles down and says, 

Well. I’ll do whatever I want!

Now, I’ve had enough, and I say:

So basically you don’t give a shit for ANY of your neighbors, do you?


Finally, he must of been embarrassed enough at his terrible behavior, and he backs down and says:

Next time he calls me, I’ll take the conversation inside!


At which point, he goes back to his book, and I complete my exit. 


It took all that just to get him to say he’ll handle it differently next time and basically be respectful of his neighbors and not a selfish pig!


It’s amazing–some people really just can’t own up to when they are being a jerk.


But I was glad this guy finally came around–maybe there is still hope. 😉


(Credit Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Wrong and Wrong

I thought this was a funny saying that my friend told me. 

I’d agree with you but then we’d both be wrong!


He said that he actually liked it so much that he got a sign with it and put it in his office. 


As they say, “Two wrongs don’t make right.”


If you think something is wrong, hold your ground–otherwise no one will be right. 😉


(Source Graphic: Andy Blumenthal)

Having Those Difficult Conversations

Took an interesting class recently in having difficult conversations.


These are the conversations you need to have about performance, accountability, expectations, bad news, conflict, and so on. 


Often these are the conversations we tend to avoid, because we don’t know how to have them without making things worse where things get emotionally charged, people become defensive, things gets misinterpreted, and they get escalated. 


And it’s even more difficult when there is a discrepancy in power between the people having the dialogue. 


But it is important to have the critical conversations in order to solve the underlying problems!


Often problems are rooted in that we judge others too quickly and erroneously, or we just don’t have all the facts. 


The data points we do have get filtered, interpreted, assumptions are made, conclusions are drawn, beliefs are adopted, and actions are taken that may be wrong (reference: The Ladder of Inference by Chris Argyris).


The key to having a productive conversation is to explain the issue and the impact, acknowledge your part in the problem, describe the desired outcome for the relationship and the work, and most importantly, give space for the other person to respond.


We need to get the other person’s point of view, including the data points that we may have missed or misunderstood, generate options, and agree how to solve the issue.


Unfortunately, there are times when the other person digs in and isn’t open to working on or resolving the problem, in which case you may need to decide whether to grin and bear it (i.e. live with it) or leave the relationship, because it has become too unproductive and toxic. 


The instructor said it well: This is about problem-solving. But life is too short to deal with jerks!  😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Compromise = Winning

So this shutdown has really been an education in political dysfunction, bickering, and childish behavior. 


But when President Trump yesterday went on the air and provided a compromise solution whereby he gets funding for a 200 mile border wall/barrier and the Democrats get money for humanitarian relief at the border, high-tech sensors, and years of protection for 700,000 children that came to this country illegally (DACA) and another 300,000 for immigrants from designated countries that prevent their sage return (TPS)–it seems like everybody would come out a winner!


That’s negotiation.  That’s compromise.  That’s diplomacy.  


When President Trump did this, I thought he really won the day, especially when the Democrats rejected his proposals and offered nothing in return or as an alternative. 


Even if the other side disagrees with the solution, they can and should offer what their version of a compromise/agreement would be and so on between the parties–this way, they can negotiate until both sides get to the magical compromise that everyone can agree to and live with. 


What I learned from this is that regardless of your political leanings, the side that shows flexibility and compromise and the desire to get something done, is the side that wins the argument, period. 


Those that want it all or are simply obstructionist and haters are the big losers in the debate. 


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)