I get to speak to a variety of people in my new job. My training consisted not only of an intensive product/company orientation but was also heavily focused on appropriate interaction under many potential circumstances. Truthfully, I was overwhelmed at first. Then my manager explained something that simultaneously eased my nerves and convinced me I would be successful.
We have absolutely no control over the actions or decisions of the people we are dealing with. We will never know (and shouldn’t assume we know) what that action or decision will be until we actually get to the moment of truth. All we can do, all that could ever be expected of us, is our absolute best with what we’ve been taught, consistently. The rest is out of our hands.
Consistency was the underlying theme of the whole training program. This idea of always presenting yourself the same way, regardless of how people react to it, is quite beautiful in its simplicity. Despite the outcome, if you are able to maintain calm and consistent control over yourself in a highly uncertain situation, you win. How very transferable.
I was recently ghosted. For those of you who haven’t yet heard of the term ghosting, you are doing far better at life than I. Ghosting is when one participant in a normal human interaction disappears with no warning or explanation. Poof! Were they ever really there to begin with?
I hung out with this attractive human male a couple of times. Not nearly long enough to render any conclusions about someone, so I won’t say anything bad about him. But I was definitely interested in investing more time; so when he ghosted, I was confused. I spent a day or two licking the wounds of my bruised ego.
I bet my awkwardness weirded him out. Or I was too shy and bored him to death. He probably thought I was stupid. My initial train of thought revolved around one question: what did I do wrong?
Here’s the thing: in the little time he and I spent together, I was completely authentic. I am shy and awkward at first – heck yes – and I’m definitely slow to warm. To try behaving any other way would have been insincere. I’m also an occasional idiot. I was raised in a Christian household where I was heavily sheltered from “secular” culture. As much as I’ve tried to catch up, there will always be a lot I don’t know about, a big giant gap in my frame of reference. That’s just me. Did I do anything wrong? Of course not. For whatever reason, he simply decided he did not want to speak to or see me anymore.
But what happened? I don’t know. I don’t know and I will never know. I was left with nothing to speculate on. To assume I did something wrong or that his actions had anything to do with me is pointless.
Furthermore, I can’t ever say that I know what someone else is thinking. But when I start to project negative assumptions about myself onto them, it becomes pretty obvious what I am thinking.
All I can do, all that could ever be expected of me, is to be my best authentic self. The rest is out of my hands. Fuck the outcome; I win!