Carl, the Big It, sits at the other end of the table. I’ve planned it that way, snagging the seat farthest away from him at every monthly volunteer meeting. Everyone’s too nice to tell Carl he needs therapy or a kick in the pants. I’m not sure either would help.
Some folks have a bottomless greed to be the smartest person in the room. The bride at every wedding. The cat with the biggest tail. (Insert heavy sigh~~)
Maybe you have Carl’s clone at your work? Organization? Family??? He’s the one making Swiss cheese out of every suggestion. Even when his brilliance is interrupted, he’s able to hijack the topic and herd it back toward himself.
Time ticks away at our meetings. We shoot furtive it’s-your-turn-to-reign-him-in looks at each other.
I’m telling you this because I’m the one getting a kick in the pants.
February is Self-Change Month (Thank you inner angel-grrrr), previously, I’ve dealt with Carl by mentally rolling my eyes—which are now loose and twirl if I’m jostled in the elevator. So now Miss Goody-No-Shoes has me trying other methods.
I hiked up my big girl panties and:
- Talked to him. Heart to heart. One on one. Privately.
- Talked to him in a group. Set boundaries. Confronted him when he crossed it.
And I discovered…
Carl is confrontation-proof. He even enjoys the drama!!!
Robert M. Bramson, PhD. (Coping with Difficult People) says: “Individuals behave in a difficult manner because they have learned that doing so keeps others off balance and incapable of effective action. Worst of all, they appear immune to all the usual methods of communication and persuasion designed to convince or help them change their ways.”
So I grudgingly thank you, Inner Angel. I’ve learned:
- Annoying behavior is habitual, not personal. Carl’s a cockle burr under everyone’s saddle.
- Don’t play his game. He’s practiced all his life. And….
So….okay….I’ve changed. I ignore his games, and now….strangely, Carl no longer takes sniper shots in my direction.
Ohhhh…sometimes he fires off sarcasm then loudly says, “I was only joking,” but mostly to other volunteers.