Drew BarontiniProduct Director at Differential

Don't Dwell

Published

April 23, 2020

Reading Time

1 min.

When someone says something that bothers you, don't dwell on it; follow up immediately.

Perception is everything. We all hear and perceive things in different ways. While this is normal, it's important to acknowledge so we can deal with it when we don't like what we hear or perceive. This happens to me on a regular basis in the working world.

I'm in a meeting and someone says something a particular way I perceive as hurtful. Or I read a comment in some project-management software or chat app that I react the same way to. No matter where and when it happens, my reaction is to immediately assume the worst — or, at least, it used to be. I think the other person meant it maliciously, and I start making up stories in my head about their intention.

DO NOT DO THIS.

The first step is to pull that person aside one-on-one and tell them how you perceived their comment. I guarantee it will be a misunderstanding to be immediately clarified. They will tell you they didn't mean it that way, you'll work through it, and move on. If that's not the case — and they did mean it maliciously — you don't want to work with or talk to that person anyways.

The alternative is much, much worse.

You will continue to dwell on what was said, making up stories, and your perception of what happened will grow uncontrollably.

If you work with good people, then it's almost always a misunderstanding to be clarified. We're human, and we say and perceive things differently. Acknowledge it, address it, and move on.