OBLIVIOUS PEOPLE DRIVE ME NUTS
I burst out laughing this week when I read a post on Facebook from a friend (thanks Joanna, I owe you one). She was recounting her rather unpleasant grocery shopping experience with an oblivious person. After several attempts of politely asking him to move so she could get her cart past him to the cashier only to be completely ignored, she resorted to her military training and barked out the order in no uncertain terms. I couldn't help myself from doubling over in giggles about the scene I painted in my mind -- this prim and proper lady, this quintessential professional, this woman of decorum and class, bellowing out the command to "kindly move!" Hilarious.
It's always funny when it happens to someone else, isn't it? Oblivious people are the source of much entertainment when they affect another person's life.
Not so funny when it's us living the experience.
Think: bottom of an escalator or getting off an elevator, when the person in the front comes to an unexpected and dead stop. You and the others behind him or her are piling up in body heaps, completely unbeknownst to the person who is the cause of this mishap. They have no idea what mayhem they've unleashed and go about their blissfully unaware business.
What about how oblivious people affect our communications? Sadly, sometimes people are completely oblivious to social clues when it comes to how they communicate. I've seen this dynamic play out in social situations when a person tries to interject into a conversation and others talk right over. Oh, it's so frustrating! The excluded person feels rejected, invisible, overlooked, marginalized and possibly even embarrassed. Oblivious people: they walk the halls of our learning institutions, they hold seats in our offices and boardrooms, and some even make their way into our homes.
So what to do about them? What's the best way to handle the oblivious people in our lives?
The first plan of attack is to bring them into the moment, to raise their awareness of your presence and your needs, and (here's the tough part) to do so politely. For example, in the case of a social situation like a cocktail party or holiday gathering, suppose you see a couple people chatting. You walk over to them, thinking they'll notice your presence and invite you to join in. They don't.
Here's your plan:
Here's a caution: if you've been standing there for more than a few seconds and the clique you want to break into hasn't included you in its conversation, don't wait for the invitation -- it's probably not coming. Nine out of ten times, it's not because these people deliberately are being elitist and are intentionally snubbing you, but simply that they are blessedly oblivious. Don't waste energy being offended when likely none was intended; just take the initiative yourself. If it's met coldly, you're no worse off. Chances are however, that you introducing yourself into a conversation at a social venue and doing it in a polite and friendly way, will be well received. And if it's not, then those people are oblivious to what they're missing in meeting you, and that's their loss.
Until next time, here's to ...
Marion Grobb Finkelstein
Keynote Speaker / Corporate Trainer / Author
If you enjoy improving your communications and the results that this brings, you'll love Marion's useful and insightful online products to help you hone your personal and professional communication skills. You'll find an ever-growing range of items including e-books, hard copy books, and teleseminars. All these learning and support items share strategies and tactics to enhance your communication skills and, at the same time, allowing you to remain authentically you and attract the success you deserve.
While Marion's best known for her expertise in communications, her clients and colleagues share that her biggest impact comes from her holistic approach and her philosophy of "better communication, better business, better life". She believes that in order to succeed, keeping your communications real, authentic, and reflecting your own personal values is the ticket to success. This, Marion says, is the key to your communications achieving desired results.
You can learn more about Marion and her courses, programs, and products at www.MarionSpeaks.com.