In contemporary society we are always looking for an edge. You know, staying ahead of the game, being one step ahead of the competition. But in this realm of being aggressive (disguised as strong assertion) we sometimes finding ourselves fighting to get what we already have or proving to others what everyone else knows.
Often times that’s an unhealthy pursuit because we either get our way through annoyance or we push people away in annoyance.
Here’s what I mean. I had a coworker who I became good friends with. She’s cool to be around. Being Italian America you expected to see the trademark feisty nature and she didn’t disappoint. Her temper was a little short and her lips were quick to tell you what she thought and how she saw things. But underneath all that feisty nature was a heart of gold. She was loyal to a fault, open and honest, kind and caring. I found out she had to be tough because she has some bad bruises coming up and being around the guys a lot, she grew a sharp mouth to compensate for a slightly thin skin.
The thing with my friend was that she was always seemingly in “I’ve got something to prove mode”. To some degree it was good because it kept her motivated and she works hard for what she has and what she wants. But on the other hand, I saw it where once people figured out you could push her buttons, they would often rile her up just for laughs.
So she would win a lot of battles but lose some wars because she got typed as a loudmouth with loose lips and too many issues. While I was glad she left the job to another more supportive site – she felt like they were harassing her and her claims had some merit – I often wondered that when we play with a hard edge it causes us to push away some people on the fence who wants to get to know us.
She has the respect of the people she wanted their respect from, but sometimes her mouth would give people no choice but to shake theirs heads and pull back.
The flip side of this thought can look equally as frustrating. Once, I got a front row seat to a potential office romance. One of the ladies liked one of the guys in their department – with so few men in that workplace, it was easy to figure out who she was after. Problem was, he was taken and she knew it – he was very upfront about being happy in his relationship. Being the honest person she was, she decided it wasn’t worth her risk to go after a taken man – but she let her actions not her words do the talking. Once he became free and she was still single, he tried to reach out to her. But she was so adamant about not getting involved with someone taken that she never believed that he was single. She blocked his every attempt at trying to talk to her and they never hooked up – even though she still wanted him.
She had his respect because she stated her values to some degree, but she was so hung up not wanting to be the other woman who when her opportunity to take the top spot came along she was never able to see it.
It just boils down to a bit of approach and a bit of the right attitude. As I am learning in chess, it’s not good enough to be an attacking player, it’s not good to be solely defensive minded, juggling the balance of attack and defense in the art of counterattack is what breeds success. Sometimes it’s good to use the right approach for the situation, because life isn’t a static as we try to make it out to be.