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Showing posts with label considerate. Show all posts
Showing posts with label considerate. Show all posts

Sunday, March 7, 2021

How inconsiderate!: 2D vs. 3D relationships revisited.

I've had a person at some point in my life that has the capacity to be considerate--no it's not my wife or someone close like that--but anyway the person gets stuck.  He's the type that would be helpful, but on his terms.   He's the type that would seem to be thoughtful or considering you, but then he'd do something which would remind you that you ultimately he is considering himself first.  

If you had a friend like that and he was throwing you a birthday party, he'd run it in a way that he thought was cool.  That is, it would be more important that he do something he'd like and tell himself that he'd know you like it, than to actually find out what is truly important to you.  He'd be the type that would contribute to a cause you had, but only if it was in a way that he found appropriate rather than the most helpful way.   He'd be the type that would watch you dog, walk him, medicate him and feed him, but only in the manner (or timing) that he thought was appropriate or comfortable with him, not in the manner closer to which the dog is most comfortable with.  He'd pat himself on the back for 'taking good care of Rover', when his 'help' confused Rover and threw Rover off his schedule.   Sometimes you are just so grateful for the help that you overlook the self-centered  nature of other's 'consideration'.  However, in a romantic relationship (or other close relationship) that can be a problem.   Considering others on your terms is NOT a building block of a healthy relationship.  You might pick out a gift which you think is really neat and your spouse will thank you but not use--a sign of not knowing him or her (or not being willing to consider clues they've given).   When that disconnect seems to be the rule rather then the exception, it leads to what I call a 2D relationship.  That is your significant other knows things about you, but don't really know you (or accept you for who you are).  I contrast that with what I call a 3D relationship, where they know things about you, but they ultimately know what really makes you tick or what is important to you AND accept you for it.

When asked what are the building blocks of a good relationship, people.   According to Psychology Today by Abigail Brenner M.D. (April 26, 2017), the following are the building blocks of a good relationship:

  • Trust
  • Commitment
  • Intimacy
  • Respect
  • Communication
  • Empathy
  • Equity
We can all come up with our own lists which might look a bit different, but at the end of the day, what do the elements of all our lists have in common?  They all reflect or are underpinned by the thoughtfulness of  consideration.   I'm not talking about just sort of thinking about the other person, but what I call True Consideration.  That is, consideration of others on their terms and because it is the right thing to do.  I will differ it from what I call Narcissist's Consideration.  That is, so-called consideration you would give for selfish motives and on your terms..  Let's take a look at how you can reflect each and how True consideration underpins the building blocks of a good relationship.   Above I discussed how consideration would look when it is offered (or not) by another.  Below I decided to switch the perspective to YOU being the one who offers (or doesn't offer) consideration.   

TYPES OF CONSIDERATION

    TRUE CONSIDERATION
  • You work to know the other person and what is important to them.  
    • You ask questions, observe and listen to them, not just hear them.
  • You focus on what they indicate is important to them. 
    • You don't just listen for a few keywords, but you listen to their thoughts, especially in context..
  • Your helpful or thoughtful actions are done optimally because you really want to and with a cheerful demeanor.
    • In other words, showing consideration/being helpful for others brings you a level of satisfaction.
  • Even when you really don't feel like being particularly thoughtful or helpful, you do it anyway.
    • The person is important to you and you know it is just the right thing to do.
  • You don't make or base your decisions  to 'show consideration' based on what you figure you'll get out of the equation.
    • You don't look for praise by your significant other or outside praise.  In other words, you are looking to show everyone or make a case what a considerate person you are.
    • You don't look for "advantage" to be gained by 'showing consideration''.   In other words, you don't cynically look at consideration as to what can I get out of this later.
  • You may even 'hide' consideration.  
    • You just do considerate things without being asked or saying anything.  In other words, it just seems like a nice thing to do and your heart just wants to do nice things.
    •  If help or consideration is 'discovered', you may minimize or dismiss it. 
      • It could be out of being shy or embarrassment of positive attention that way.  Some people just don't like to be the center of attention.
      • If could be because your faith or code encourages you not to brag on yourself.  As I understand my faith (Christianity), I shouldn't seek out praise of others.   

    NARCISSIST CONSIDERATION
  • Your focus is often more on what YOU think is appropriate for other person, rather that what is important to them.
    • This shows it is all about what YOU and your hubris as it relates to others.
  • When 'showing consideration', you only show consideration in a way that is comfortable to you.
    • That shows it is more about what is easiest or best for you, rather than what is the most helpful for others. 
    • That shows that you are trying to 'control the terms' of helpfulness or consideration.
  • When 'showing consideration', you calculate what will get the most positive feedback and positive attention. 
    • You are trying to impress everyone and put on a 'good presentation' for everyone.
    • Really this is trying to control what others think about you.
  • When 'showing consideration', your motive is doing so to gain advantage or even control.  
    • 'Consideration' may be withheld when you determine there is little advantage or more disadvantage than advantage.  In other words, what's in it for me.
    • Conversely, consideration may be shown when there is enough advantage for you.
      • Help or 'thoughtfulness' is contingent on returning favors or you gaining a tactical advantage.  Help or consideration is only offered if you get something out of it.


TRUE CONSIDERATION AND
  • Trust - Our actions and words are undertaken with consideration as to what would help to build trust in a relationship, where applicable.
  • Commitment -  This takes a lifetime of true consideration towards your other.  You are considerate toward the other and the relationship in general.
  • Intimacy - Consideration in intimacy is the willingness to bare your soul or allow your other to be their soul, even if it is not always comfortable.  In other words, when we are willing to allow ourselves to be vulnerable, we are considering the other person as we are giving them the chance to know us and permission for them to do the same.  We are appreciating their needs that way. 
  • Respect - True consideration in a relationship implies respect for our other.  We are regarding their other person to be an equal partner to us.  We would hold deep regard for them and what is important for them.   Obviously, a relationship works best if they hold the same.
  • Communication  - This can be challenging.  Being considerate with communication means you are willing to let the other express what is important to them w/o cutting them off and truly listening to them, not just hearing them.  It also can mean considerate enough to show restraint in expressing yourself where it could be harmful or showing a willingness to have express yourself to, especially where it could be helpful.
  • Empathy - If you are stepping in your other's shoes to try to empathize with them, you are clearly considering them.
  • Equity - To be fair and just with your other, you have to take into account what is important to them.  That is, what what they might see as fairness. You cannot just decide what is equitable in the relationship and then impose it on the relationship. 

I believe consideration underlies all the building blocks of our relationships.  It is important that we are truly considerate with others and vs. more or less fake it.  This is especially true with our significant other.  Like much in life we have to check our motives, to know if we are being truly considerate.  Are our motives for being 'considerate' more based on ourselves or based on others?  Intuitively, if we are honest, we know why we are being helpful or 'considerate'.   If we are honest, we know whether it is authentic and in a way that others find helpful.  Alternatively, we would know if it is for show or advantage.  Also, we would know if consideration is just given in a way we think it should be given or that only in the way we think it should be given.

If we truly want healthy relationships, we simply just have to know how to properly consider others.  This is especially true with our significate others.  For some couples, they pick this up early.  For other couples it takes time and maturity.  And still yet for others, they may never really learn how to be truly considerate of each other (and probably end up getting divorced).  Ultimately, the most important ingredient here is a willingness to learn how to do so.  If you are open to learning how to be truly considerate, the sky can be the limit for your relationship.  If not, well, your relationship might just be another statistic.

In closing, I'd like you to CONSIDER all I've said and see if it could help you. 

-- Rich


Thursday, March 12, 2020

Faking It without being Fake

I think by the time we are well into our adulthood, we've heard society's "grown-ups in the room" spout the cliche "It's okay to disagree without being disagreeable".  Some cliches, no matter how overused they are, still have value.  This one is one of them.  Anyway, we've all heard others discuss having to deal with 'fake people' and it got me to think.

We've all been around groups of people that are fake and hopefully we are not unwittingly part of such a group.  We see them on Facebook and they like each other's posts.  You wonder if they even care about the posts for the others in their clique or they just want to be seen as being friendly or supportive, but I digress.   Sometimes you'll see them virtue signaling on social media or elsewhere and you wonder whom they are trying to impress with their 'thoughtful' take.  Sometimes we'll see them hang out in clubs together.  We may also see them group together at our place of education, employment or worship.  Wherever we run across them, they can be annoying to be around or to deal with.  Unfortunately, they due to circumstance between our control sometimes we have to deal with them--coworkers, classmates, supervisors, etc.

We could get or stay annoyed by them.  However, sometimes, especially if they have authority over us, it is best to learn how to 'play the game without being a piece on the board'.  That is, "Fake it, without being fake".   Before you take this step, you have to determine what it means and if you are capable of it.


The Rules of the Game.
  • Remember when you are 'going along to get along', not to cross you own red lines.  Such as:
    • Not hurting others.  For example, try to avoid piling on when others are being attacked, especially where the ones being attacked could be hurt or get wind of it.  Even if it not harmful to the subject of the attack, it is at the very least harmful to you and those whom you influence.  Besides, it is below your dignity.
    • Not going against your core beliefs.  For example, don't resort to helping them steal or lying about work hours if that's what it takes to be part of the group.
    • Not putting yourself in jeopardy to get along.  For example, if you work somewhere where your coworkers are doing something unethical, don't participate in hopes of being accepted.
  • Be aware of what really matters and what is safe to opine about
    • Some things are throwaway such as talking about your favorite restaurants or your favorite vacation spots.  As long as the 'fake' people aren't rude to you about it, what does it really matter as these are subjects that don't matter in the big scheme of things.
    • Some things are fairly uncontroversial such as rooting for the home teams.  You can typically talk about these things without hurting other's feelings or compromising yourself.
    • Some things you should avoid especially if it is a sore subject for someone in the group, unless it is to empathize perhaps.  No matter how 'fake' a person is, he or she still has feelings buried underneath the facade.
  • Be aware of what is important to others in the game and look for areas of actual agree-ability.
    • Compliment where you can safely (and honestly) such as on their clothes, car or whatever.  Fake people, often are just people search for validation.  If you can provide it honestly, it costs you nothing, but can make a difference.
    • Ask questions that show interest.  Fake people can be very vain and like to talk about themselves.
    • Pay attention to what they talk about, you might learn something which can help in future relations.

Determining if you want to play.

  • What is the cost of the game?  If the cost is too high, such as compromising your values or putting up with too much BS, it probably isn't worth it.
  • What is the benefit of the game?  Fake people might actually be able to help you if you 'help' them.  If you show likability towards them, even if not necessarily 100% genuine, they might be pleasant to you and perhaps offer networking help.
  • There is a chance that someone(s) you perceive as 'fake' are just insecure people who are playing the game too and who seek a true friend.
  • Can you be friendly and agreeable with fake people without the fakeness spilling over?

Is that your final answer?
  • When determining how you want to proceed with fake people--whether you want to avoid them as much as possible, be businesslike or kill them with kindness--you have to consider the costs and benefits.
  • You have to determine how much you are willing to put yourself out there.  When dealing with difficult people in general, it is best to put yourself out there as much as you are comfortable with.  In other words, how much are you willing to safely share with others?
  • You have to be willing to change approach if one approach isn't working.  For example,  
    • If your efforts to kill them with kindness don't work and are draining you, you may have to step back and let it go.  If someone is fake and doesn't accept your kindness or worse, pushes back, you have to make sure your don't allow yourself to get hurt in the process.
    • If trying to avoid dealing with fake people isn't working.  In other words, they try to draw you in, it might be best to accept their overtures and find where you can be agreeable with them.  Otherwise, you might just have to step away from them as much as possible.

This applies to adults as well, but most kids want to be accepted and thought of well.  Unfortunately, I think in some cases, they resort to being whom they think they need to be instead of whom they are.  They look for acceptance among the 'in' kids, they crave something that feel is missing and will do whatever it takes to get it.   I think this extends into adulthood.  Maturity is realizing it is okay to be yourself and not someone 'you need to be' and being comfortable with it.  We have to deal with them in our teens and our adulthood sometimes.  But like the saying, "When in Rome, do as the Romans do" implies, we should make an effort to meet others where they are, especially when we can't avoid dealing with them.  It may not be on our terms, and therefore may feel like we are "Faking It", but it doesn't mean that we are "Fake".  Being respectful of others where they are doesn't mean we are fake, it means that we are considerate (and in some cases out of necessity).  We become "Fake" when we cross our red lines to do so and/or allow it to spill over into how we deal with everyone.