I had two situations happen very close to each other, which I had to write about. I had two good business relationships with two people for about a year. These were beyond the acquaintance level, as we saw each other on a weekly basis. In one relationship, the person completely shut off all communications with me for no apparent reason. I contracted the person several times via voice messages (because they wouldn’t answer my calls), text and email.
I finally asked point blank through these means what I did so wrong to have them completely ignore me. In other words, I assumed I did something horrible to offend them, and only asked that I could know what it was. After about three weeks, the relationship finally deteriorated to almost nothing. It literally left me dazed and confused, on how we went from a respectful and trusting relationship to one far from that.
The other situation was stopped before it got worse. After a class one day, I had one of my students ask to talk to me after class. This again, was a student I respected greatly, and he I. When alone he asked, “Did I do something to offend you a couple weeks ago? I feel like you’ve been angry at me.”. I told him absolutely not, as I was taken back on the mere assumption I was angry, when there was no hostility on my end whatsoever. We cleared the air immediately, and everything went back to normal.
Needless to say, let’s assume he would have not brought up any feelings he was thinking I had for him. He would have put distance between us most likely, and I might have even done the same, not knowing exactly what was going on. This would or could have escalated over weeks, into months, and would have probably disintegrated our relationship. He would have continued to harbor animosity to me, and I would have thought he was purposefully disrespecting me for some reason.
Instead, I have all of the respect for him, that he approached me in person and in private, asking me what was going on. Within seconds we were able to mend the relationship and get on with our lives. I can’t tell you how relieved I was that night, that someone had the maturity to bring up what they were feeling, instead of assuming and building their own story. Maybe I respect it so much, because I probably do it too many times in my own life. I assume instead of simply clarifying.
Because this situation happened after the first one, I only thought how the first could have been salvaged if there was immediate, personal and blunt interaction. I would be lying if I told you I didn’t lose respect for the first person, as eluding and ignoring me for reasons they never made known to me, was their decisions time and time again. I am far from perfect, and I know I probably did something to hurt them… but I have no clue what it could be, even after I asked them numerous times.
It reminded me to not jump to conclusions, and if I have a beef with someone, to bring it up in a personal, immediate and direct manner. I believe most of life’s situations can be fixed or at least healed this way. Instead we all fall into the trap of having our disappointments, hurts and disagreements spin out of control, weaving their own web of confusion and unneeded complex solutions. In the end, people are hurt more, and massive time is wasted.