I saw it. The look that came across his face after Peggy made some benign comment. The frown, the smirk, and then - the snort. Everything about his nonverbal body language said, "You are a complete jerk for saying that. You are so wrong. You know nothing. What an idiot you are."
And then, fearing he hadn't been blatant enough nonverbally, he said the actual words: "Well, that's wrong."
Flat. To the point. Cutting like a really sharp knife right to the center of her heart - and her pride.
I saw her embarrassment. I felt it. I noticed that the other people at our dinner table also felt it as they looked away and shuffled nervously in their seats.
And yes, I wanted to say to him, "Excuse me????? Exactly who's being the idiot here?" But then - I would have been guilty of doing the exact same thing that he did. Only I would have deluded myself into believing that it would be OK if I did it to him - because, after all, he deserved it. But then that was precisely what he thought, too, wasn't it? Didn't he think, "It's OK if I say this to her - because she is obviously sooooo wrong and needs to be set straight."
Oh, how we can justify making someone else look bad.
I know there have been times in my life when I have been absolutely certain, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that something someone said was wrong. And I can remember immediately jumping in to tell them how it really was. Why? Because I, like you and everyone else on the planet, have a need to LOOK GOOD AND BE RIGHT. Yep, I'll own that one. And even though I may tell myself that I was more diplomatic than that gentleman was, I'm certain now that the impact was the same.
The problem is that when I have to point out to you, and anyone within earshot, how right I am about something and how wrong you are - I am thereby making YOU look bad. And the bottom line? You won't like me. You won't want to be my friend, hire me, promote me, say "yes" to me, buy my products, and on and on and on.
So what do you do when someone says something you know is incorrect? Well, most important; never, ever do what that gentleman did in front of other people. It is bad enough to do it in private - but if any other human being is around - it is absolutely verboten.
So what do you do? To find out, check back on Thursday to read part II of The Frown, The Smirk and The Snort...
Linda Larsen, CSP, helps individuals think strategically, communicate effectively, and celebrate success. She is an international keynote speaker, trial consultant and author of the book, True Power, and the best selling audio program, 12 Secrets to High Self-Esteem. She can be reached at www.lindalarsen.com or 941-927-4700.
About the Author
Linda Larsen, CSP, CPAE is a Hall of Fame Speaker, professional actress, best-selling author and serious lover of doggies. Linda speaks at conferences and meetings around the world, helping people bring the very best version of themselves to life every day! To talk to Linda about how she can contribute to the success of your next event, call 941-927-4700. Or go to Book Linda Now!