Improve understanding by irritating people


How common is it that miscommunication is often the cause of stress and conflict in our work and social lives above anything else? You can have 6 people around a table and the unintended outcome is 6 alternative views on one topic and a resolution at the end of an ever lengthening tunnel. If that wasn’t complicated enough, you then have 6 different ways those views are expressed and 6 contrasting reactions when each person is told their view is a load of old codswallop! The person who called the meeting ends up wishing they’d just gone ahead and done what they wanted in the first place and the rest of the team start writing their letters of resignation.

Ok, so that’s a slight exaggeration…

Getting on with people is hard. We often expect others to see life as we do but how could they? We see life through our own lens, shaped by our own experiences with a few innate methods of doing things thrown in for good measure. And anyway, those ‘others’ are probably thinking the same thing about us.

And so, for our own sanity and to simply make things work we have to try. The irony is that by doing so, we often form friendships and learn most from those whose views are contrary to our own. New ideas, pauses for thought, changes of direction, pulling back from the brink as well as love and laughter can all be unintended consequences of a more positive kind.

Carl Jung, whose model of personality type was the catalyst for the development of the MBTI assessment tool said, “Everything that irritates us about others can lead us to an understanding of ourselves”

As much as it annoys me to write this, he has a point.


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