Friday, October 31, 2008

"Kill them with kindness"

You know how sometimes you can run across a person that gives you such a hard time that you just want to slap them? Yep. I have one of those in my life right now.

When I was a teenager, my Maternal Grandmother lived with us for a few months. Grandma Kate (for whom I was named) had been a barmaid for about a century and knew a thing or two about dealing with folks. I am not sure what precipitated the conversation, whether it was trouble at school with some people who didn't like me, or what, but somehow the conversation got swung around to waiting on difficult tables.

She told me two things will ensure that you always get a good tip, "First, smile. Even if you don't smile with your whole face. Smile from the nose down and most people will never know the difference.

"Second, kill them with kindness. Some Bozo with a snoot-full, who's intent on giving you a hard time will have a harder time, giving you a hard time if you are above reproach. So, the next time you think, "That jerk!" Just smile instead and say in your sweetest voice, "How can I help you?" Be overly attentive. They will eventually give up if they don't get a rise out of you."

You've no doubt heard the adage "You catch more flies with honey, than vinegar."? Words to live by, folks. This really does work. Sometimes, you even find that the person you kill with kindness isn't such a bad person after all. They may just have their defenses up. This has happened to me before. I found a person I couldn't stand, decided to be nice anyway and then found out they were a pretty nice friend to have.

You may not like playing social games. You may think that you have to stand up for yourself at some point, but really...being Passive Aggressive is a pretty effective way to stand up for yourself without sustaining the collateral damage of starting a fight.

I could have saved myself a lot of grief by putting this into action this week, but instead I decided to use the Julia Sugarbaker (Designing Women, anyone?) "Terminator" method. Let's just say that putting people in their place is not the best way to preserve peace in the workplace.

Someday, I'll be a grown-up. But, right now, I have to go kill someone with kindness. I have a fence to mend.

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