Focusing on the "yes, I agree" areas helps you to connect with them and get on the same side. From there, they will be much more willing to reciprocate by listening to your side of things.
Maybe it wouldn't work for the author, but I've found success with it.
To be clear, this is not about some new age pacifism. Sometimes looking for someone to blame is a knee jerk reaction, sometimes placing blame is a calculated manoeuvre. In both cases, often, it is not good strategy to face the "attack" head on.
This is the whole self awareness thesis -- now you know that this is how you respond, and this is a strategy to deal with it.
Don't get hung up on introvert and extrovert traits. They're not relevant to the message.
> But I never figure it out “in the moment”
Nobody ever does. My attempt at solving this is to eliminate as much of the "surprise!" moments as I can by delaying things. It doesn't work always, but I have found saying no to things initially helps a lot. Somebody comes to bug you, someone just wants to talk NOW, ask them for some time. More often than not, we know what the other person would say. Think about it clearly and then talk with them.
As this doesn't always works,one more technique is "let silence speak". Instead of rambling about and saying things you would regret later, just stay silent and ask for more time to think and talk later.
It's also weird that people are deeply uncomfortable with silence, even introverts. Silence is golden.
Cliff Click (https://twitter.com/cliff_click), the author of the presentation is probably one of the smartest and fastest talking people around. He wrote the original Hotspot JVM and have done tons of interesting work.
First you may want to experience your feelings (you feel hurt, vulnerable, angry), but then try to understand what made you angry. Maybe you have an inner need for contribution and the other person states that instead of contributing, you made something terribly stupid (from his point of view) so you feel hurt.
And then, think about the abusive manager in this case. what may he feel, what may be his needs? Isn't is possible that he felt ashamed because he needed stability, but that need was undermined during his presentation?
Most of these are in the presentation in a form or another, but in fact this is a mediating thechnique by Marshall Rosenberg, called NVC. Anyway, take your time. Don't be ashamed to look into your heart. This is easier said than done, but it's possible to get better in it.
This means that something that is not very stimulating to you, can be practically overwhelming to me.
It's not insecurity, it's not emotional issues. It's biology.
And turning it into something that sensitive people should be able to overcome - turning it into a personal failing is not helpful.
Also, turning it into a personal failing is absolutely helpful. What isn't is thinking that a personal failing is a bad thing and not just a thing which isn't as good as it can be.
You don't need "comeback" words, you really just need to report this bullying behavior immediately to who's in charge(if that's not your boss) or simply quit for fucks sake.
Can people not take the occasional bit of criticism any more?
So this doesn't offend you? If someone is able to talk with you like that at your workplace that's really bad...constantly or not.
If it's not crap, then why the fuck do I care if someone else thinks it is. If it isn't, then I can justify all the decisions that were made and why they were made and why the result behaves as it does.
If i can't then that's a problem, and that problem is on me to fix. Why am I making "crap" ?
Is this maybe an age thing? Is this a problem with young people needing to be handled with kid gloves?
Never mind the fact that if someone can say to me "your crap is crap, get outta my sight" then we obviously have an environment where I can tell that person to go fuck themselves.
Jesus people have some self esteem / self confidence.
I can accept a workplace where I have to evaluate why I produced crap, provided they have to evaluate their behavior and deal with the fact that they are creating a toxic culture.
So it's nothing wrong when somebody is talking with you like that? Doesn't give you a hint how much that person respects you? Maybe some of you guys here are just used to be pushed around...but if that's ok with you, fine.
SOmeone that talks to me (or anyone) like that, why should I want their respect?
Shrug it off and ignore them, or tell them to fuck off.
They people aren't worth your time or any form of emotional investment. BUt occasionally they might be right, yhou might have fucked up and I think it's important, regardless of the delivery, to look at criticism objectively.
There's a good chance that their criticism may be warranted despite the way they presented it and your sensitivities.
Mentally insert a scenario that you personally experienced that made you feel the way the speaker describes. Maybe someone gave you negative code review comments that you disagreed with?
The separation of opinions from the person changes the dynamics in my head. I still find it hard to work with people who don't do that separation. Discussions with them can be tricky. If I am fortunate, I come out of the discussion learning a lot with wider spectrum of things to consider. However in some occasions I am just drained intellectually and emotionally with opinions such as: I have done this before and just trust me.
I feel soft emotional skills are as much important as core intellectual competency of a person. More study/awareness on this front is always welcome!
[Edit 1: Typos]
In the rare scenario someone would come up to me this way, I would have already been prepared by knowing what exact wrong things they themselves did in the past (not because I am a horrible person, but because people did and would take advantage of me this way in the past). I would directly retaliate and then make sure the person in question learns this lesson for the rest of our relationship. Rinse and repeat.
More importantly, the fact that the person in question can approach you this way and in such a manner is already a good indicator of either you working with someone who is an incredible idiot or there're some organisational issues.
Most managers are unwilling to deal with situations like that. They immediately reduce the importance of it and try to (gently or not so gently) coerce both sides to just get back to work.
It's kind of sad but also rather interesting to learn to deal with such bullies quickly and efficiently.
(1) "Remember those 20 minutes of outage on production because you couldn't be bothered to check for a nil, smartass? How about you get the fuck out of here and let me finish this?"
(2) "If you never screwed up at work in your life then by all means, please fire me. Right here and now. No? Then get the fuck away, my contract doesn't include listening to people with anger issues. I can hand you a therapist bill later if you really wanna talk. I take $150 an hour. Bye."
...are the rough formats I almost always use, depending on if I caught the attacker making a mistake in the past or not. Bullies aren't ethical. They don't care if they hurt you. Most of them actually want to hurt you. And as much as we want to believe in organizational systems, my experience has been that 99% of managers simply don't care.
We must learn to defend ourselves. And yes that includes being aggressive yourself. As a guy who was severely physically bullied as a teenager I can tell you that bullies don't listen and respond to logic. They are hyenas: if they sense you are weak they will push their attack even further. Only when you show teeth and bite back hard will they back off.
If you have a team of whatever sport, and the goalkeeper fails to catch the ball, you don't blame the goalkeeper. It's a team effort.
If the goalkeeper is busy catching balls is because the defense didn't work, because the forwards' attack wasn't working, or because the coach strategy was ineffective... etc. You get the idea.
Then, just like goals, bugs will always happen.
Unless you refused to do your job, or went against protocols/procedures, you should not be treated this way.
What you do is try to understand what happened and try to make it better next time.
Imagine that it's a paying client. You can't go run to HR. You can't just say "take your money and leave". It's not ideal, but yeah, you're going to have to deal with this level of conflict and confrontation sometime in your life. (Heaven forbid you go through divorce negotiations, like the author; "your crap is crap" is probably the nicest thing you'd hear all day.)
You also assume that the attacker's words are rooted in fact. One strategy that 'warriors' intentionally use against others is to undermine them and make them feel threatened. It works remarkably well against tech people because we put so much importance on our skills.
It's uncool, but it happens. Better that you be prepared.
What if your boss says: "It's too cloudy today! It's your fault Ian, you suck!"?
- is it acceptable behavior?
- is it a correct statement?
- is it constructive? does it help solving a problem at all?
Assuming that the attacker is correct and that it's your fault is not always the right thing to do. Some attackers are malicious and will use your emotions against you.
Power dynamics will not always permit you to appeal to a superior. Sometimes you need to deal with a bully yourself.
More specifically, you need to be given actionable, specific feedback... hopefully without noise or personal, emotional drama.
Seems like some good advice though.
I'm getting a 404 on the current OP URL, but this works:
Given that the will is there, the best way to influence your behavior is mental modeling because how you see things will affect not only your mind but your body and imagination is a way to see what you want to see.
Whether the model is correct or not doesn't matter. Half-believing it is sufficient. That's how superstition works. Beware that models, not unlike drugs, not only can but often do have side-effects.
This reminds me of the fine grained steps that non-technical people will write down when handling computer tasks. Every click and every menu mentioned. Even down to describing what the icons look like. Then each step will be followed with exacting caution. The interaction never becomes comfortable or natural. Instead it stutters along from one step to the next. Like counting off steps when dancing.
Whereas a skilled user will intuitively understand the UI cues. Even in an unfamiliar situation, where they don't know what menu or setting they need, they will move around trying things just to see what happens. The difference between skilled and unskilled is not planning, or knowing an ever larger number of correct steps. It's about a knowledge of the basics and a feeling of safety in taking risks.
When I read this post I see someone not comfortable enough in their own skin. Perhaps flagging people and making battle plans will help get him started, but imho the goal should be to gain a level of comfort that you can act without careful planning. That will allow you to avoid being 'stun locked'.
I can't speak for everyone, but looking at my progress in this area, it wasn't enough to just take risks and understanding the basics. They were crucial elements, I do agree with you on that, but trying to not be methodical did not help. I needed both, and still do. I have lists for even very simple interactions that really should be 'natural' by now. It took me more than a decade to realize and accept that this is the only thing that works for me.
It's a bit like a tone-deaf person learning a musical instrument. Through immense effort and 'fine-grained, mechanical learning' they might actually get pretty good, but they're still tone-deaf, and might never become as 'fluent' as others. If you're that type of person, the approach you describe can be frustrating and relatively ineffective.
That said, I do think your advice applies very much to most people, and to some degree to all people :). I suppose finding a skilled teacher than can help you figure out what works for you is crucial in this regard.
I can now reliably beat the puzzle in Myst that involves a piano and a set of sliders now, and it only takes me 15 or so minutes when it takes normal people about 30 seconds.
(I go back and play every 3-5 years because I enjoy the crazy storyline)
I have a friend who is very analytical but gets flustered by many social situations and conflicts. When I ask him what's going on he explains he doesn't understand how to act or what's going on. I've no idea how to help. I've developed instincts, through experience, rather than calculated responses. My instincts can be off and need adjustment over time but it's a totally different way of reacting. Much less taxing on me emotionally than what he goes through. I don't need to think I just need to practise. But this doesn't seem to work for some people and I have no idea why?
I remember in my late teens and early twenties experiencing this but I just grew out of it. How do you help someone develop interpersonal skills and instincts?
My dance instructor, a master dancer, said that for dancing the key is you need a MAP:
Memorize the steps and commit them to memory. Then automate them so you can do them without thinking. Then personalize and add your own flourishes.
It’s a matter of mastery and practice. This is true both for dancing and for dealing with emotionally charged situations, and for pretty much anything that you haven’t yet mastered.
It is one of those compact books that are quite effective. Other books are a bit heavy and you almost feel like you have to memorize flow charts. This book is fairly formulaic, but with easy to remember formulas. A lot of the book may seem a little too soft/touchy, but fortunately when I read it I was reading other books that go into the details of the psychology behind communications (which this one doesn't), and there is a lot to back up the advice in the book.
Mind you, if this isn't your default style of communication, it will take a lot of practice (and perhaps years) to get there. I think for me it was about a year of trying before my first successful use of it in a hostile conversation. It's hard to stick to trying something if you don't see signs of success inside of a year.
Mind you, what I do that requires focus isn't the most exciting or difficult thing anymore either, so that might also be a factor.
Third, I work in much less dickish environment. Nobody will come up at you and start yelling, that's just unprofessional. With that in mind, I don't know what I'd do if that were to happen. Depends on the situation / reason / person / etc.
My brain is easily overwhelmed, it's highly sensitive. This means I cannot respond fluidly in stressful situations.
Having a highly sensitive nervous system means that you can pick up on subtle detail easily. But it also means that too much stimulation really effects your ability to process.
This sensitivity is a deep trait, it's down in the biology. You can't think your way out of it, you can't overcome it. It's a deep deep part of a person and someone without sensitivity can have a hard time understanding what it is like - and this is where your answer comes from.
You do not understand what it is like to live with high sensitivity. It is both a blessing and a curse.
I am highly sensitive. This means I am highly emotional, highly creative, very intuitive - I read people easily. But it also means I can't endure busy environments: crowds, large meetings, rock concerts, sporting events. Not without consequences: confusion, tiredness, stress, etc.
We are different creatures, you and I. But that does not make us better or worse, just different, that's all. We should learn to respect each other for our shortcomings and our strengths.
If the laws don't help, or you aren't up for that kind of fight, perhaps look for another job and think about how you suss out if this will happen in the next job. Perhaps get a job via a friend who can vouch.
The standard should be assertiveness.
- One's awareness of how they are perceived by other people.
- One's awareness of their own feelings and emotions, irrespective of other people.
Extroverts rank highly for the first point and poorly in the second point. For introverts it's the opposite.
I don't think it makes sense to discuss self awareness if you don't separate the two different types.
You need to be exposed to a lot of difficult and unusual situations in order to learn about yourself. Also you need to be honest with yourself because most people have a habit of post rationalizing their behaviour as a way to maintain labels like "I'm a good person", "I'm a winner", "I'm smart", etc... People who subconsciously try to assign labels to themselves usually don't have good internal self awareness because labels are the product of external advertising; it's an externalized/socialized way to think about yourself...
Edit: I'd also like to add that as someone who meditates daily, I actually disagree that being exposed to a lot of different situations is automatically going to help you get to know yourself better. You can be exposed to all sorts of situations and not be mindful of what is going on inside. Alternatively, you can be doing something totally mundane like sitting and watching your breath and come across new and interesting things going on in your own mind that you had never noticed before. The difference is going to come from how mindful you are.
Taking a pre-production build to a customer and getting angry when it doesn't work? That's an organizational problem, and the developer is justified in getting angry at someone for doing that.
Using crutches like this can lead to psychological addiction, because if the situation does not improve the person can too easily choose to "have more beers".
Of course there's also the chemical addiction to alcohol which will be even worse.
Everyone is a bit of everything, and the point of realizing or learning things about yourself, such as the fact that you’re more introverted than extroverted isn’t to say “oh well, I guess I’m an introvert” and then define yourself around that. The point is to figure out what your strengths and weaknesses are so that you can work on bettering both.
That’s not what always happens though. Some people do these tests and learn nothing about themselves or how to be themselves. They read that they are introverted and then they google what that means, and then they start becoming more and more like what their google results told them.
I see nothing in those slides that aren’t an exploitation of this.
Obviously you need safe spaces and concentration zones at a workplaces for people who primarily use their brains. But are you seriously trying to tell me that “extroverted” programmers don’t need places where they aren’t distracted? I’d say people with more extroverted traits need those even more, as they get distracted easier and are worse at setting up the “do not disturb” boundaries by themselves. Obviously you need to manage people differently. Some people won’t speak up as much and it’s import to make sure they feel heard, but even people who speak up, might not feel heard or come up with a better “come back” two hours later, and there needs to be room for all of that. Typically the how depends a lot more on the day/situation than what their “personality profile” is like.
How do you make this conclusion when you know nothing about the author's current work environment?
Consider that what you see in the slides could be hypothetical examples or examples inspired from someone else's life or from his previous work environment. Also consider that some people, although aware that they need a better work environment, are unable to find that better work environment in near future. They need the skills and techniques to be able to deal with the current work environment.
Please. Can't we just hire people who are a bit more emotionally mature? We are told that people skills are important for programmers, why not reward those who have developed them.
I know it doesn't come naturally to many people but if you make an effort you can improve. For example a girl I know was terrified of public speaking. She started hosting stand up comedy shows in local bars. Stewing over it on your own doesn't seem like the correct approach to me.
often problems that manifest themselves between human beings have an underlying physical cause. take up a character building sport like BJJ where it is difficult to cheat. this acclimates you to physical closeness and the human touch (non-sexual intimacy, fellowship, brotherhood), strength and dominance (power, abuse, corruption), technique and body mechanics (spatial awareness, developing creativity), practice and repetition (dedication, art), competition and individual effort (confidence, respect), teamwork and collaboration (being human). sports teach children how to navigate and are used to develop the mind and strengthen the body for life. they are miniature wars with battles, leaders, and self discovery. if you did play sports as a child maybe revisit that time and try to understand if something was getting in the way of your learning.
expecting the world to change for you while remaining adamant about not changing yourself is exactly where species meets extinction.
I am on medications that are testosterone blockers as a side effect. My testosterone levels are close to 0.
I have none of those issues.
You are giving too much importance to one single hormone.
As someone drained by social situations who needs alone time to recharge - but who successfully works in sales and has no trouble working a room, hitting on women, dealing with hostile confrontation, etc - I wouldn't use the word to describe myself.
It's socialisings "curvy".
I think this is a case of haters gonna hate.
The defining characteristic of an introvert is that you feel drained being in a social situation. Extroverts feed off the energy of a crowd.
pg's "Keep your identity small" comes to mind. But when it's a description of your mental status, it seems less like a label you choose and more like a label that chooses you.
In particular, it's different from wanting a smaller belly or bigger muscles or more money. All of those things are mutable. But being an introvert seems like a fundamental fact of your existence that's unlikely to change. In that context, isn't it better to wear it on your sleeve?
It's hard, certainly. But that's where a sense of community can help.
As a closing point, it wasn't until minorities started being proud of their labels that they made significant progress toward equality and justice. There's no reason to tolerate society's perceptions when they're unfair.
"Label pride" played little role in the success of the vast majority of success of minority groups over time in the US. At one time Chinese, Japanese, Germans, Irish, Catholics, Italians, Jews, and countless other groups faced hardships and issues in our, sometimes not so melty, melting pot. They invariably overcame by actions, not words. Their degree of success can be shown by considering the fact that when you refer to "minorities" you're mostly not referring to these groups even though they are even smaller groups than those you do implicitly refer to with the word. Again with the meanings of the words!
Crowds and social situations can be very different. With a half-dozen friends at a bar? Part of the audience at a concert, or at a football game? Part of a team in some competition? Holiday dinner with distant relatives? Stuck in a pedestrian traffic jam? At a back yard party at a friend's house? Visiting a new meetup group for the first time?
> Crowds and social situations can be very different.
> With a half-dozen friends at a bar?
I have enjoyed many such situations like this many a time. Usually playing pool, and having beer. The beer helps immensely. I still felt I needed some peace and solitude during the event and regularly went away for 5 or 10 minutes to 'recharge'.
> Part of the audience at a concert, or at a football game?
I deliberately choose not to go to concerts very often - I despise going to areas with 100's or even 1000's of other human beings milling around - although if it's a particularly compelling concert I will make an effort, and mostly enjoy said concert, but look forward to getting away from all the hubub. I am not into football.
> Holiday dinner with distant relatives?
I enjoy that, but still very quickly feel drained at such and regularly go away to peace and quiet for 5 minutes and return partially renewed enough to continue until the next recharge.
> Stuck in a pedestrian traffic jam?
This is a very stressful and frustrating situation.
> At a back yard party at a friend's house?
I enjoy such, but will still go away for 5 minutes to recharge enough until the next time I need to recharge.
> Visiting a new meetup group for the first time?
This has always filled me with the utmost dread. Even now in my late 40's
Edit, I read clay_the_ripper's comment to be about the Autism label but may well be wrong.