I find many people in desperate need to be taken seriously whether they’re serious people or not.
I’m not sure what kind of an itch it scratches (I do actually know from experience but it makes it sound better if I’m just trying to discover it with you), but we have this desire for our thoughts and words to weigh something even when they shouldn’t.
I’m not into emotions as much as some, but many of us also have a deep need for every emotion to weigh something to people even when it would cheapen us in the process.
The counter-balance is often overlooked in that it could be said those who listen well gain the ear of others. This is mostly true unless you’re dealing with a narcissist who utilizes the time you’re speaking to be thinking about what they want to say next.
Conversations of this nature annoy the heck out of me. I offer peace offerings of possible new lines of thinking to the other and they repeat what they just said, only louder? Yeah, I got it. But every time I “get it” I start suspecting I’m going to have to get to the finish line AROUND you, not with you.
A phone company that had a monopoly on cell service before their competition started wreaking havoc on sales called me up one day to offer me a much worse deal than I already had, granted the young man on the phone was unintelligent by genes or by choice. Sometimes one should screen their representatives better…
Me: “I understand what you’re offering, but what I have is better”
Him: Everything he’d already said but louder.
Me slowly and precisely: “I. UNDERSTAND. WHAT. YOU’RE. SAYING. BUT. IT’S. WORSE.”
His clincher which had undoubtedly never worked was “Awww. Give us a chance!!!”
Right. Giving phone companies chances is why I exist. Thanks buddy.
At my age (never thought I’d say that) I’m getting a little fussier about whom to spend my time with. It’s only taken most of my life to realize that God has a wonderful plan for my life, and so do a lot of other people. I’m not really into wasting good time on bad people anymore.
“Wait, you’re a pastor. That’s your job!”
Fair enough. Let me explain. I don’t really mean bad people because that could describe all of us sometimes. I mean bad people who don’t mind staying that way.
My mission is to help people find their purpose, but for years I made a crucial error of not putting in benchmarks or deadlines in place, but rather spent my time investing in EVERYONE. Folks, everyone is not a great investment of time. Actually most of my peers spend 80% of our time on a small percentage of problem people who are energy suckers.
One day I woke up and realized that I could literally spend a lifetime trying to help some people and they would never actually grow because they didn’t want to.
“But everyone wants to get better”
- Absolutely not true!!!
See, some people have the desire and are willing to put the work in to improve and are only missing the skills or opportunity.
So I test people for return on investment now. If after some months they take everything I offer and do nothing with it, why would I think that would change if I throw good time and resources after what didn’t return anything?
And I don’t mean return anything to me personally, I mean getting a return of investment in their own lives.
Can I be honest and say that talented people often appear the most honest but are the least aware? Honesty hinges on awareness, so someone telling you the truth about how silly they are is ok (even impressive), but doesn’t mean they want to NOT be silly anymore. And it’s hard to take silly people seriously even if they demand you do.
So I don’t anymore. I nod and smile and give them a job to do that they won’t like with the surety that “If you do this, your life will get better”.
If they really want change they will, if they don’t they won’t but will want more of my time all the same because it feels good to hitch a ride with people who are moving. Drown out the guilt of not putting in the work with more conversation to “clarify what I should actually be doing?”
Buddy if Corey Kope wasn’t clear we all have a problem:) Just ask my wife. I’m way too clear at times and am working on it.
What normally follows is some form of guilt trip of why I abandoned them but I’ve straight up asked my closest friends, family and co workers if I have a problem with that (try it some time…) and it came back like this:
“Well, you teach us that generosity buys YOUR loyalty to the person you give it to, but it doesn’t actually buy their loyalty back to you. Only their generosity will.”
You see, there has to be a return on investment of loyalty. Loyal people are serious people.
So I’m attempting to take people who take me seriously seriously, if you know what I mean…
If I don’t, I won’t have time for someone who actually wants help.