Monday, 6 August 2012

Don’t be a Misery Maker!

In any company it is a good idea to review work processes and tasks to make sure what is being done is a “value adder” rather than just an “energy sucker”. In life I believe it’s wise to do the same thing with ‘friends’ and acquaintances.
Example one:
I have a friend who bought a supposedly tame and loveable dog from a breeder that turned out to be quite vicious towards other dogs. On the first morning he took it out to his unfenced front yard for a quick toilet break… unfortunately a passer by (an unusual occurrence in his short lane in the gated estate where he lives) happen buy with her dog. Bang his dog takes off, attacks the ‘intruder’ and knocks the owner over. My friend is old and quite blind however managed to separate the dogs and apologizes to its owner and says that he will pay for the vet bills. The ‘intruding’ dog needed stitches.

The response from friends was basically one of support as the level of grief, sorrow and stress in my friend was very high and he was at one point going have his do put down. Issues of legal blame or fault aside, one person didn’t help matters.


“Knowing her she’ll likely sue you” says one neighbor.  Now this is stating the possible worst outcome for my friend who is obviously aware of the potential downside of his situation. We are all aware of this potential problem however my friend needed positive support rather than an in your face stress building comment on the morning after the incident as he hadn’t slept all night out of worry.
My friend rang me and said he would need to get the dog put down. I reluctantly offered to take the dog to the vet to get it put down, as I know from past experience how hard that is to do, particularly with a dog you have bonded with. As it turned out the other owner was quite understanding and forgiving, the dog was not put down and was eventually returned to the breeder.
About three weeks later my, by then dog-less friend, his wife and I where at the commenting neighbor’s house for dinner.  After dinner the wife of the original commenter pipes up and says… “I saw Mrs. xyz today and she’s complaining of a saw hip from her fall… no I really don’t think she’ll be doing anything against you though… no surely she wouldn’t do that… no it’ll be all right”. I could see my friend was again visibly shaken. Why say anything it’s mean, it’s manipulative, its nasty and its just energy sucking, worry inducing and misery spreading rubbish of no value.
Example two:
Just watched the movie “The King’s Speech” again. In the scene before the king gives his 1st wartime speech he is under enormous stress and the Archbishop of Canterbury is part of a group to be present in the next room as he gives his radio address to the nation. The Archbishop (a dumb nasty bit of work in my estimation) says to the stressed king something along the lines of “a very important historic moment”. The king knows that and the actor successfully portrays the king’s instant rise in his level of stress, sheer energy sucking nastiness on behalf of the Archbishop.
Churchill, a noted speaker is there also and says to the king… ‘I have a speech impediment, had it for years, wanted to operate on me, tongue tied for years… I’ve turned it into an asset’. Now there’s a value adder!

So be a Churchill “value adder” and not an “energy sucking” archbishop for your friends. Most importantly if you have negative friends, acquaintances or archbishops in your life… sever your relationship… they will just bring you down.