That Wouldn’t Bother Me…
One of the stress management ‘rules’ is to remember that personal values are personal. What bothers, worries or makes you feel stressed might not bother someone else and vice versa; their worries might not bother you. But they’re all valid, those worries and concerns and it can sometimes be difficult to offer support when another persons’ worries don’t resonate with you.
I’ve heard, so many times, Line Managers say “that wouldn’t bother me” after talking to a member of staff who’s expressed difficulties in some form and I’ve wanted to shout “IT DOESN’T MATTER WHAT YOU THINK!”. That persons’ difficulties are valid, even if their Line Manager can’t emotionally tap into what’s been said. And I’m talking empathy here, not sympathy. No one wants pity, just an attempt to understand that things are difficult is great.
A Line Manager who’s a more introverted person is likely to absorb some of their team member’s worries, stresses or concerns and will reflect on them after the conversation and hopefully think of how they can help. More extraverted people look to empathise by referring to their own experience and so if they haven’t been in a similar situation they might struggle to offer support. (I’m speaking very generally here). Either way, the key to offering support is to listen without judgement, regardless of whether you think the content of the conversation is valid or not. Listen without thinking about what you need to say next, who you might need to signpost them to, what policy you might need to invoke or what cheese you might need to buy later at the supermarket! Be present, in the moment and mindful of how you respond. And if you need some time to think of a response, say that! Personally, I’d much rather get a considered response from someone than a long story about how they went through the same thing. That doesn’t get me anywhere.
In managing your stress and remembering that your values are personal, work out what you need to do to make yourself feel better and don’t always put too much store in the advice of others. Their values might be different to yours. The people closest to you will know you well enough to offer the right advice and support. Others might give advice because they want to be helpful but if it’s not tailored specifically to you, and your personality type especially then what you’re offered isn’t likely to work. A more introverted person will need quiet, calm time to recharge their batteries. They may well look to different sources of information like books and the internet to try and understand where they’re at and to seek a range of information before making a decision about a way forward. A more extraverted person will look for company and the interactions of others to discuss difficulties and options for change before making a decision on how to proceed. Neither approach is wrong but they are very different. So if you’re offering support to people in any form, be mindful of their personality type. If theirs is different to yours it could be worth having a conversation about how you can help them and what form that might take. Or have that conversation with your Line Manager if you’re not getting a response that fits you well at the moment.
If you’d like more information on personality types you can access my free video on this page: https://kw-innerstrength.com/the-strength-of-introversion-online/
If you’ve ever had a friend that said “come out with us, we’ll have a great time!” as a response to knowing you’re struggling and you’ve thought “I can think of nothing worse, how can I get out of this?”, then your friend is a more extraverted person and you’re more introverted. I can think of numerous occasions over the years when I wish I could have understood my own personality type sufficiently to have said “thanks for the invite, but I think I’ll just take some chill time to work things out”. They still wouldn’t have understood my approach, as theirs would be very different but I would have been happy that I’d ‘stated my needs’, as much as we sometimes dislike that expression. It certainly would have saved me a number of very forgettable nights in nightclubs! I’m so glad to be old(er) – now I just say “no thanks”!
So think about the people and conversations you’re finding difficult. Is it because your personality type is different to the other person’s? Remember, it’s not wrong it’s just different and your values, and theirs are personal so try to find some common ground that makes your relationship work well. Sometimes it’s about knowing what not to talk about if you feel very differently about things. Most of all be kind to yourselves. If you have an effective conversation, acknowledge it and give yourself a smile. Those can add up over the day and that will help you to build and sustain a more positive mindset.
Take good care please and have a great weekend.
Best wishes, Karen