When We Piss People Off

One of the things about blogging on learnings every day is that regular readers get a pretty good idea of the tone of things in your life. I think it comes with the package of running a blog that touches on topics that most would consider personal. I don’t know a way out of it unless you choose to pick a specialty (Eg: clothes, shopping, travel) and blog around such topics.

Anyway, this brings with it a responsibility (I think!) to not put people in the spotlight with your blog – especially if you just pissed them off/had an argument with them. I’ve erred many times while writing here. I don’t think I’ve written about friends after I’ve pissed them off but I sure as hell have pissed off people thanks to stuff I’ve written here. That comes with the territory though. It’s risky when you air your personal views on a daily basis and it’s especially risky with personal relationships. That said, it also gives you an invaluable lesson in responsibility.

I thought now would be a good time to write the post on pissing people off. I think I’m at a point in time when I can’t think of anyone close I’ve pissed off in and around this time. (Gotta strike while the iron is hot! ;-))

One of the results of doing anything is that we piss people off. And I really do mean the anything. It doesn’t matter, really. If you design a product or service, there will be users who will love you for it and some who will hate you for it. If you take a stand on a particular issue, there will again be some who will love you and some who will hate you for it. Even if you choose to pursue what you consider a worthy goal, you’ll still piss somebody off. It comes with the territory of attempting something. The more you attempt, the more mistakes you are likely to make..

The funny thing is that even if you attempt to change yourself for the better, you WILL piss somebody off!

The trouble, of course, is when these folks are close to you.

I’ve had a fantastic track record of pissing people close to me off. A few years ago, I believed I needed to take a stand on everything. Absolutely everything. I had to make my point clear, my opinion heard. (Thank you to all those who stayed my friends..!). I was much more difficult than I am now (it’s all relative, after all!). Over time, though, I’ve come to realize that we generally piss people off for 3 reasons – our principles, our opinions and our actions.

And my approach to each of these is different.

If I piss people off thanks to my principles, too bad. That’s a category I do not do anything about. As they say, it’s tougher to live by your values than to fight for them. No fighting here. Living is hard enough.

If I piss people off by my opinions, well, that’s something I can change. As the quotes go, ‘Opinions are like backsides. It’s not always wise to air them in public.’ After years of pissing people off by voicing my opinions, these days, I find I’m more at peace with them. I’m the sort of person who does feel strongly about things and having this blog as a place to air those views helps. Of course, that brings the related problem of pissing close friends/family off by what’s written here. That’s happened before and I’m working on it. I think that’s getting better..

If I piss people by my actions i.e. by my mistakes, well, that takes a lot of work. And deservedly so.

As I’ve said many times in this post, first time mistakes are often unavoidable. Repeat mistakes are definitely not cool. That’s when they become failures and we’re in dangerous territory.

With first time mistakes, I always end up remembering the line from my personal mission statement – ‘Do not fear mistakes. Fear only the absence of creative, constructive and corrective responses to those mistakes.’ And I work hard to make sure I stop myself from reacting, offer no excuses and attempt to act creatively, constructively and correctively.

As is the case with these things, it doesn’t always make the problem go away and often we cause scars that take a long time to heal. Luckily though, if we’re surrounded by great people, they understand that mistakes are part of the learning process.

There’s a lovely line in the wonderful ‘I’ve Learned’ piece that says –

I’ve learned-
that no matter how good a friend is, they’re going to hurt you every once in a while and you must forgive them for that

Amen to that!

That’s what helps me deal with pissing people off. Since this is one aspect I expect we all have plenty of experience with, I’m curious to hear how you deal with it.

Of course, I completely understand if you’re NOT at that point in life where you have an all clear from all sides. Empathy, what a concept.. (haha)