WTDW- People Try To Make You Feel Small
I think I’m going to start a “WTDW” or “What To Do When” series, because I often find myself googling things like this in times of anxiety or frustration. This topic, WTDW People Try To Make You Feel Small, is one I’m extremely passionate about. Mainly, I care about this topic because you shouldn’t allow other people to make you feel ANY type of way.
I’ve dealt with it at school, at work, with friends and with family. We’ve ALL seen someone intentionally TRY to make someone around them feel small or stupid. You could really insert any derogatory term at the end of that sentence. There’s good news, though. You can turn it around in a very polite, professional way. A way that will not only allow you to recover the conversation to an even playing field, but one that lets the other person know they might be a bit ridiculous.
I’m going to use an example that I witnessed at work last week. There was an employee (we’ll call them Sarah) at my company who was trying to place blame on someone in a different department (we’ll call person number two Eric). Sarah sent one of those “CC everyone” nasty emails to a customer, calling out Eric for supposedly not doing his job. It was unprofessional, uncalled for and caused waves with both employees and the customer. Good news, Eric had actually done his job, and replied in a genius way.
“Sarah, what indicated that I was unable to complete this task? I’m sorry that there is a communication gap here somewhere.”
Not only did that call into question that there must be some information to show otherwise, but by taking ownership of a communication gap, he disarmed Sarah from being able to reply in a rude way. I know it may feel like I’m reaching with this, but I’m really not.
Here’s a non-workplace example. I go live on instagram/facebook/whatever to talk about some products that I love while I get ready in the morning. If you’ve suffered through one of my recent GRWM insta stories, you know exactly what I’m talking about. These are pretty scary for me, but I know it’s an important part of the business I am running. I have big dreams when it comes to Bloom Beauty, and I’m not going to accomplish them if I spend my time worrying about what everyone else thinks.
Most of the time, people are super nice. I get a lot of feedback, and sometimes constructive criticism which I love! Other times, not so much. I’ve had people comment, answer polls or questions in a way that you know is just meant to be rude. On the internet we call them Trolls. In real life, they’re just bitches? Idk. Either way, people can sometimes be mean just for the sake of being mean. So I like to ask them questions. When someone tells me my makeup doesn’t look good, or they don’t like the colors I used together, or they hate my outfit, I ask a question. (If you’re one of the “mean girls” I’m talking about and you’re reading this blog post, now you know my secret. I’m also super surprised you’re here, but thanks for reading!)
“What would you have done differently? I’m sorry if you felt like this was bad information (tutorial, how to, etc), I’m just learning and trying to put myself out there!”
“What are your favorite colors to pair together? I’m trying to come up with new ideas, I guess this one wasn’t a good one!”
“What is it about this look that doesn’t work for you? What would you suggest I do next time?”
“How would you have put this outfit together? What trends are you loving?”
Asking a question and opening the dialog around something is often one of the best ways to teach. You can teach someone that they’re being an ass without being one yourself. (This is a big learning curve for me.) You can also help them see why you’re doing what you’re doing and come to an understanding. I can’t imagine someone getting more upset after commenting “I hate that style” and me coming back with an honest question about their opinion.
Some of my favorite friends are people I didn’t see eye to eye with in the beginning, but a conversation paved the way to awesome friendships. I’m sure there are people who will continue to be on the offensive, and that’s when you practice the tried and true method of “Bless and Release” or “Bless and Block” depending on the type of relationship you have with this person. There are people who CONSTANTLY talk crap that follow me on social media, and I’ve made the decision to block those people.
If you sit next to a “Sarah” at work, it’s not as easy to block them. You can “bless and release” and make it a habit of allowing the things they say to roll right off your back. Easier said than done, and if this is someone who is being extremely offensive, sexist, racist, etc. you should take it up with HR at work. Otherwise, you will be so much better off if you continue to ask them questions that help them learn, and allow the rest of the negativity to stay far away from you.
If you have suggestions on how to handle situations like these, or other ideas on “What To Do When People Try To Make You Feel Small” please comment them below!!