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T.H.U.M.P. – 5 Ways to Deal with Irresponsible People

T.H.U.M.P. – 5 Ways to Deal with Irresponsible People
class="bigphoto">Irresponsible People

Yep, we’ve all been there. Whether it’s a co-worker, a family member, or even a close friend, we’ve all had to deal with people whose stark irresponsibility causes anger, annoyance, and even chaos everywhere they go.

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These individuals are constantly late, they don’t follow instructions, they miss appointments, they forget to call, they make drastically uninformed decisions, and they just generally create negativity and angst for the rest of us.

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Here are five great ways for dealing with these annoying people, and the very appropriate acronym to help you remember these tips is T.H.U.M.P!

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  • Tell them – Believe it or not, many people who are chronically irresponsible don’t realize the depth of the chaos that they leave in their wake. It’s not up to us to teach and train the masses about how to be responsible members of society, but that doesn’t mean we can’t point out that they have caused a problem due to their irresponsible behavior. If they get upset about it, that is probably because they know that you’re right, and no one likes to face the fact that they screwed up.
  • Have a back up plan – Despite your best efforts to tell certain people about their less than savory personality traits, some people are just going to be irresponsible no matter what you do. Your only recourse then is to have a plan in place for whenever they live up to your expectations of them. Whenever you are involved in any dealings with these people, you can think positive about the outcome – and maybe that will come to pass – but you should also plan for that person to drop the ball. By having a back up plan in place long before this person has a chance to cause an issue, you’ll save yourself and everyone involved a lot of headaches.
  • Undermine their involvement – Sometimes the best defense is a smashing offense! If your favorite irresponsible person is going to cause problems despite your best efforts, simply remove them from the equation. Make plans without telling them. Fill their normal slot in your endeavors with someone else before they get a chance to get involved. Keep a tight lid on the details about your upcoming adventures. Even if the irresponsible person finds out, that doesn’t mean that you need to suddenly gush about all of the details, thus allowing them to possibly slip in at the last minute.
  • Make them an offer – When all else fails, turn to bribery! If you can’t advise the person, prepare for their chaos, or otherwise avoid their involvement, then make them an offer that they can’t refuse. Dangle a big carrot in front of their face, and promise them a rich reward if they manage to be a part of whatever you are planning without making a mess of it. Be sure your “carrot” is something that really appeals to them, even if that appeal is simply to their vanity or to their misguided perceptions.
  • Prepare yourself mentally – The final way of dealing with irresponsible people is to simply expect them to be that way. This isn’t to say that you should run around thinking the worst of people. However, there are some people who are going to do what they are going to do, no matter how many problems it causes for other people. If they are going to do their thing regardless of your efforts to the contrary, then the best thing that you can do is to just be ready for it on a mental level. Even chaos, anarchy, and negativity aren’t as bad if we are ready for them. Often, just being ready for something will limit the negative effect that it has on us.

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Last Updated on August 6, 2020

6 Reasons Why You Should Think Before You Speak

6 Reasons Why You Should Think Before You Speak

We’ve all done it. That moment when a series of words slithers from your mouth and the instant regret manifests through blushing and profuse apologies. If you could just think before you speak! It doesn’t have to be like this, and with a bit of practice, it’s actually quite easy to prevent.

“Think twice before you speak, because your words and influence will plant the seed of either success or failure in the mind of another.” – Napolean Hill

Are we speaking the same language?

My mum recently left me a note thanking me for looking after her dog. She’d signed it with “LOL.” In my world, this means “laugh out loud,” and in her world it means “lots of love.” My kids tell me things are “sick” when they’re good, and ”manck” when they’re bad (when I say “bad,” I don’t mean good!). It’s amazing that we manage to communicate at all.

When speaking, we tend to color our language with words and phrases that have become personal to us, things we’ve picked up from our friends, families and even memes from the internet. These colloquialisms become normal, and we expect the listener (or reader) to understand “what we mean.” If you really want the listener to understand your meaning, try to use words and phrases that they might use.

Am I being lazy?

When you’ve been in a relationship for a while, a strange metamorphosis takes place. People tend to become lazier in the way that they communicate with each other, with less thought for the feelings of their partner. There’s no malice intended; we just reach a “comfort zone” and know that our partners “know what we mean.”

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Here’s an exchange from Psychology Today to demonstrate what I mean:

Early in the relationship:

“Honey, I don’t want you to take this wrong, but I’m noticing that your hair is getting a little thin on top. I know guys are sensitive about losing their hair, but I don’t want someone else to embarrass you without your expecting it.”

When the relationship is established:

“Did you know that you’re losing a lot of hair on the back of your head? You’re combing it funny and it doesn’t help. Wear a baseball cap or something if you feel weird about it. Lots of guys get thin on top. It’s no big deal.”

It’s pretty clear which of these statements is more empathetic and more likely to be received well. Recognizing when we do this can be tricky, but with a little practice it becomes easy.

Have I actually got anything to say?

When I was a kid, my gran used to say to me that if I didn’t have anything good to say, I shouldn’t say anything at all. My gran couldn’t stand gossip, so this makes total sense, but you can take this statement a little further and modify it: “If you don’t have anything to say, then don’t say anything at all.”

A lot of the time, people speak to fill “uncomfortable silences,” or because they believe that saying something, anything, is better than staying quiet. It can even be a cause of anxiety for some people.

When somebody else is speaking, listen. Don’t wait to speak. Listen. Actually hear what that person is saying, think about it, and respond if necessary.

Am I painting an accurate picture?

One of the most common forms of miscommunication is the lack of a “referential index,” a type of generalization that fails to refer to specific nouns. As an example, look at these two simple phrases: “Can you pass me that?” and “Pass me that thing over there!”. How often have you said something similar?

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How is the listener supposed to know what you mean? The person that you’re talking to will start to fill in the gaps with something that may very well be completely different to what you mean. You’re thinking “pass me the salt,” but you get passed the pepper. This can be infuriating for the listener, and more importantly, can create a lack of understanding and ultimately produce conflict.

Before you speak, try to label people, places and objects in a way that it is easy for any listeners to understand.

What words am I using?

It’s well known that our use of nouns and verbs (or lack of them) gives an insight into where we grew up, our education, our thoughts and our feelings.

Less well known is that the use of pronouns offers a critical insight into how we emotionally code our sentences. James Pennebaker’s research in the 1990’s concluded that function words are important keys to someone’s psychological state and reveal much more than content words do.

Starting a sentence with “I think…” demonstrates self-focus rather than empathy with the speaker, whereas asking the speaker to elaborate or quantify what they’re saying clearly shows that you’re listening and have respect even if you disagree.

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Is the map really the territory?

Before speaking, we sometimes construct a scenario that makes us act in a way that isn’t necessarily reflective of the actual situation.

A while ago, John promised to help me out in a big way with a project that I was working on. After an initial meeting and some big promises, we put together a plan and set off on its execution. A week or so went by, and I tried to get a hold of John to see how things were going. After voice mails and emails with no reply and general silence, I tried again a week later and still got no response.

I was frustrated and started to get more than a bit vexed. The project obviously meant more to me than it did to him, and I started to construct all manner of crazy scenarios. I finally got through to John and immediately started a mild rant about making promises you can’t keep. He stopped me in my tracks with the news that his brother had died. If I’d have just thought before I spoke…

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