Not long ago, I posted about the downside of real people where I talked about the ways in which highly authentic/real people can also have the tendency to be embarrassing or to make you cringe with their candor. Here are 5 ways you might deal with that:
1. Look inside: Pay some attention WHY you are reacting to this person. Don’t settle for pithy answers like “they just bother me,” but seek to understand why the conduct of the other is causing a reaction inside you? What are they actually touching on?
2. Ask questions: When someone is making you cringe, try asking them creative questions in the tense moments. If you talk much when you feel awkward or offended, you may say things you regret…so ask them to keep talking. This might increase the chance of them discovering their ignorance or putting their brakes on and gaining some self awareness. Sometime Tricia and I will say: “go ahead, keep digging your ditch so you can fall in it.”
3. Match their candor: This won’t work for everyone, but sometimes very unguarded people need to hear what it sounds like coming back at them. Most have no clue what they sound like until they hear it reflected back from another. They may not like hearing it as much as they like giving it.
4. Affirm their value and voice: I have found that most cringe-causers are not bold and direct from a place of security and centeredness, but from a place of insecurity and fear. They want to be heard, liked, noticed, valued. So, if that is what they are after, maybe giving them strong notice and affirmation asap will zap their need to shock the crowd with their words. They’ll already have what they wanted.
5. Receive the gift: Lastly, sometimes we just need to sit back and receive the gift of candor even when it causes us some squirmy feelings. Straight shooters bring stuff to the surface much faster and it is sometimes just a gift. Push through the awkwardness and receive! Don’t try to wiggle out of it.