Disclaimer: None of this content is meant to hurt the sentiment of anyone. It is just my take on how one effectively tackles the egos of his fellows,when a problem seems to be brewing. Even though at places some of the text may sound err inconsiderate on my part, i apologise. I don't intend it to be insensitive,but may be for want of a better expression I may have used something which is not that good a euphemism.
At some point of time,each and every one of us must have been a victim of the bloated egoistic rampages of our fellow Homo sapiens. Most of the time, it is a non-issue which somehow gets blown to larger than life proportions and ends up costing us something(not to mention our very own hurt-pride). Having been on the receiving end of many ego-maniacs (and sometimes, people whom I have known for a while too), i consider myself to have suitable experience on this topic,which I have decided to make the subject of my next post.
First we ll try to look at the different angles from which the problem may arise.
1. It may be a misunderstanding with a friend
2. You may have pissed off someone on the road(allegedly pissed off,that is..)
3. An action of yours may have caused the ballooning up of the ego of someone in a position higher than you(like people in govt officers, the boss dude, teachers, generally people elder than you)
4. People who are frustrated with their current position, feeling they were meant for other bigger things..
Ok. Now lets start off with No.1 on our list. Friends. Now this is a big issue, especially if that person has been close to you for a long while or has been/is a room mate in hostel. But this is the one with the easiest solution. Apologize. The fault may not be yours, but don't let your own ego get in the way of your friendship. Personally speaking, I would rather be the 1st to apologise than spend days without talking to a friend. There may be some fault on your side too, and a lot of it on his/her part, but make it a point to
BE THE FIRST TO APOLOGISE
Moving on to the next case- you are the victim of the ego of a complete stranger, a very common example of which, is in India's chaotic traffic :D. Cursing a driver who has jumped a signal and made you jump outta yer skin, or the poor pedestrian who braves the traffic in trying to cross the door,the kid with the brand new bike who seems to have a paralysis of wrist which ends up locking the accelerator at full throttle and his unawareness about a concept called brake (err i ve been guilty of this when I was a noob) and everyones favorites- the bus drivers who sometimes get a notion that they are riding an F1 car in a highway, and how can I forget the usual suspect- the lorry driver who drivers over anything-from potholes to poor dogs to the unlucky biker. On several occasions, this will make your temperature boil over. It's normal for any human being (I repeatedly request my father to fit our automobile with a wacky races- like contraption which can swat away vehicles which unnerve you :D). But the best way to handle it is,forget about it and drive on. You have better things to do. You know,I am proud of Erode being my hometown. Here, people just give you a sad smile as to say- This time you re lucky next time you may be dead,or worse, put someone else in hospital. But that look says it all. One of the reasons why I miss Erode(but more on that in another post). I would request my fellow residents of Chennai to take a leaf out of their books. Please don't stoop down to the level of exchanging discourtesies with auto drivers (discourtesies lol that s one of the best euphemisms I have come up with :) though I say so meself).
No.3 on the list is where we stand to lose the most. From several experiences in the past, as well as a very recent one where it might have cost quite a bit for me and my friend(I wont get into the details :D), I have learnt that the only way out of the mess (friends who know about the incident will notice the sad pun :| ) is- SATISFY THEIR EGO. If you feel that you need to get some work done out of that person, and some action of yours has jeopardized that notion, say for example, you are accused of some misconduct, try politely refuting the charge in your humblest of tones. I ll try to chart out an algorithm for this...
1. Keep your face dead serious (a look inducing a certain amount of pity wont hurt)
2. Admit the mistake you have been charged with, irrespective of whether you are guilty or not. For all I know, that person himself couldn't care less. It's a question of hurt pride,not logic
3. Don't think twice about saying sorry. And don't stop with just a couple either (you ll mostly have covered lot of ground if you perform steps 1,2 and 3 well)
4. Repeat step 3 (do it until terminated externally) and steps 1 and 2 for every 3rd repetition of step 3. If this doesn't get you out of the mess, go to step 5
5. Say that someone(preferably, someone whom that person has confidence in and respects. Be careful not to call someone who is not held in that high a regard by your antagonizer) can vouch for your conduct. This will mostly soothe him down. But this may backfire if that person transforms into a re-enforcement,sort of like "Namakku oru adima sikkitaan" :D .
6. After he excuses you, be sure to thank him for his mercy like an accused commoner to a king.
7. The most important, put a heavy lid on your own pride and ego,coz if you let that outta the bag, yours is a lost cause to say the least, mate. :|
If this algorithm doesnt get you out of the mess, don't hold me responsible. In many cases, you will find that you losing this battle of egos has in the end, turned out for the good, for that person will involuntarily begin to respect and like you(I know this from experience) .And if you find some other solutions to tackle this problems, i request you to post it in the comments section or mail me at email@example.com.
Moving on to No.4, this is the case where the person whose ego you are facing, deserves more sympathy than you would like to think. More often than not, this kind of problem arises out of frustration. It may be anyone,right from your watchman,to someone who has more knowledge than is obvious by his current position in the economic and professional ladder, an under-achieving friend, grandparents who feel they are not important any more, and so on. When faced with such a situation, take a minute to put yourself in their position and you will see the frustration which blinds them. I am not saying one should pity them. But the least we can do is,show them some respect. We can involve them in some small tasks which they feel is befitting. We can talk to them and make them feel more wanted. A kind word or two, asking their suggestion on something, this may end up making their day.
Having been on the wrong side of the ego fence on many occasions, I have seen time and again that accepting your mistake without picking up a fight, you may even end up making a good friend, or it may even be a start of a good relationship with your superiors. We may have lost our pride, but when we look back, we ll end up feeling that we did the right thing. What good will it do to you had you won the argument? Nothing, if not getting you into some trouble. As our old friend Dale Carnegie put it beautifully -
You can't win an argument, because if you lose, you lose it; and if you win it, you lose it. Why? You will feel fine. But what about him? You have made him feel inferior, you hurt his pride, insult his intelligence, his judgment, and his self-respect, and he'll resent your triumph. That will make him strike back, but it will never make him want to change his mind.