Someone told me a little story today and I’m more than happy to share:
I was in the public toilets today and as I sat down, a voice from the next cubicle said “Hi, how are you?”.
Embarrassed, I said, “I’m doing fine”.
The voice said “So what are you up to?”.
I said, “Just doing the same as you – sitting here!”.
Then I’m asked “Can I come over?”.
Annoyed, I say “I’m rather busy right now”.
Then the voice said, “Listen, I’ll have to call you back, there’s an idiot in the cubicle next to me answering all my questions”.
While I can’t say the above happened to me, I dare say a similar thing quite likely has happened to everyone of us. I’m just thinking of an all hands meeting last week where I got briefly distracted by an email when I thought I heard my name and started commenting. The surprised faces told me it hadn’t been directed at me, so I gracefully shut up and apologised for my mistake.
And I think that’s the part in the story above that’s missing for me. What’s your reaction when you are found out; when you realise, OMG they didn’t talk to me at all!
- Pretend it didn’t happen?
- Be aggressive, you didn’t talk to me but you should have!
- Say sorry and mean it.
I’m a “saying sorry” person because I feel if it’s my mistake I have to stand up for it. I can’t pretend it didn’t happen and never clarify a misunderstanding. That only leads to a loss of trust between the 2 people involved. In some instances where you really have something to say, contribute, or should have been involved going into ‘attacking’ mode is not only the right but the better option. So don’t get me wrong. I’m not the one who is sorry in principal, you need to stand up and face the music.
Like Colin Firth in “The King’s speech”: because I have a voice! (at 1:42min)
So, let’s assume it’s you in that cubicle, what is your reaction when the voice said, “Listen, I’ll have to call you back, there’s an idiot in the cubicle next to me answering all my questions.”?