“Give them a little grace”
My brother has always been really good at Grace. Me, in my 29th year now, I’m getting better at it.
I’ve actually used “Give him some grace” in an e-mail to someone demanding immediate receipt of information. Geez how much like my mother do I sound now?
Here’s the thing. We have NO idea what is happening in someone else’s life, and our expected response time is not the same as someone else’s. So don’t bold, CAPS LOCK, and italicize your frustrations at business partners, family members, friends… It doesn’t get your point across faster or better, it honestly makes those people not want to help you at all. Similar to driving up the shoulder in the middle of rush hour traffic, or blowing your horn the minute the light turns green.
In today’s world, business and personal life has moved to be all about people pleasing – schmoozing, getting people to like you. Which is why people seem to hate telemarketers, and are reserved when talking to “sales people” (think realtors, appliance technicians, car mechanics, travel agents, car salesmen, etc) we perceive them to have a “fake caring” attitude and that they’re simply out to make a quick buck. The real response most of those sales people would like to make is “CALM YOUR TITS” or “I’m really here to help you and not screw you over” but they professionally can’t.
*I will say that sometimes when you get a foreign language speaking telemarketer multiple days in a row, it IS Frustrating*
I feel most comfortable when discussing my needs to a salesperson who actually listens to me. That’s the sign of a GREAT sales professional. It’s also the reason I went back to the first car dealership Dad and I visited for my first new car purchase in 2013. The guy was a real gentleman – he wasn’t pushy, and didn’t seem fake. He could see my apprehension, and worked hard to convey that he genuinely wanted what was best for me in my first vehicle and since then we’ve recommended many people his way.
I believe Grace is about transitioning your thought process to be less about your immediate reaction to considering the outside circumstances for someone else. It doesn’t always mean putting someone else first, but giving the thought to both sides of the argument before you react.
Maybe someone is driving erratically because their wife is in labor in the front seat. Maybe there’s a sick kid in the backseat that just threw up on his little sister? Maybe a family member passed away. Maybe someone didn’t get that report to you fast enough because they were working on 100 other “high priority” items and yours was at the bottom of that list under their boss/supervisor/CEO. We tend to think we are of higher importance in others lives because that’s how we hold ourselves in our own lives.
Groundbreaking epiphany – that other person? They think the same thing – they’re the highest priority in their own life.
If you expect immediate responses, are you also the one giving them? Do you think them through before shooting them off? Did you think of a better solution after you already responded? All questions we need to think about before shooting off rapid-fire emails and texts about not getting answers.
We’re only human here, not supercomputers. And if you’ll take a page out of the movie Hidden Figures, their new, state-of-the-art IBM supercomputer miscalculated John Glenn’s go-no go coordinates and they had to call in an actual human being to recalculate.
The things that matter, the ones that need to be right, are human.
We are still so quick to respond in frustration. I’m still working on this – but we need to give each other the grace to understand that what I perceive in an email may not be what you meant, and vice versa. So again, if something you’re writing needs emphasis, pick up the phone instead.