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May 10

Condescending & Rude

Posted on Thursday, May 10, 2012 in Uncategorized

Tuesday I posted Norman Vincent Peale’s 10 Rules For Getting Along With People. Yesterday I wrote about how socially awkward I can be.

Don’t be Egotistical or a Know-It-All

Have you ever blurted something out without thinking it through?
Have you ever mumbled something incoherent to a crush?
Have you ever left a voicemail that sounded stupid, but you can’t take it back.
Have you ever regretted saying something before you even finished saying it?
Me too!

Last week we hosted our TreeHouse Live Out Love Gala. Country star Martina McBride was our featured guest. As her Q & A with our teens was ending I thought, “I should let her know that TreeHouse is even more special than she realizes.”

My intentions were innocent. I was thrilled with how engaging and enthusiastic our teens were at the Q & A, but I really wanted her to believe that TreeHouse wasn’t just special it was extraordinary.

Was I being a know-it-all?

Was I being condescending? Not intentionally so.

I was nervous. I’m passionate about TreeHouse and wanted to give Martina a greater sense of anticipation that there was even more to know about the TreeHouse teens, our mission and the methods we employ.

“Hi, my name is Scott. Thanks for being here to make our Gala even more special…(I don’t remember exactly what phrase I said here)…TreeHouse is even more special than you realize.”

She looked a little hurt. My boss, standing right there, looked annoyed. I felt dumb.

Was I being a know-it-all? Was I being condescending? Not intentionally so, but yes, I probably was. I was nervous talking to a celebrity. I was passionate about TreeHouse, but rude in my presentation.

I had not considered that I might talk to Martina McBride, so “thinking it through” never crossed my mind.

What could I have done differently? What should I do next time I might meet a celebrity?

I wish that I had done three things:

1. Prayed: When I pray to our Creator, “Please God help me to know what to say.”, I’m less nervous around people.

2. Paused. I was nervous. Then I felt rushed to capture the moment. I should not have rushed in.

3. Prepped. “When in doubt, check it out.” It’s a good rule to follow in a workplace. I should have asked my boss. He would have said, as he said later, “You don’t know how ‘special’ she thinks TreeHouse is.” And, he would have been right.

As dumb as I felt, a couple minutes later, my boss, Tom Richards, saw me beating myself up, leaned over and said, “Don’t worry about it.” The kindest words he ever said to me. It changed my whole evening for the better.

FYI – Tom told me “Don’t worry about it” at the time, but he’ll followup with coaching for me in our next meeting.

I’m still socially awkward at times, but as Norman Vincent Peale wrote, “Eliminate the ‘scratchy’ elements in your personality, traits that can irritate others.” I am.

I’m a work on progress, and so are you.

“Let’s keep growing together”, that’s mysilentscream.

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