So I was asked recently “What’s the one thing you absolutely cannot stand in another person?” I knew the answer immediately, because I encounter it so much. Here’s my response:
“The one thing that I can’t stand in another person is lack of basic considerations. Not just courtesy and chivalry, which I value but don’t bug me when other people ignore them, but everyday stuff. When I’m deciding on something, I usually at least mildly consider the impact it will have on other people. Very rarely will I make decisions in a bubble, since I know that anything I do will impact at least one other person. When people just do things without considering the impact on others it really bugs me. It’s usually little things too…running 20 minutes late and not calling to tell someone…leaving garbage everywhere when you know it drives your roommate nuts, etc. I tend to be a pretty laid back guy (at least I try to be), but when people don’t at least try to accommodate other people, especially when they’ve been asked to, it really bugs me.”
This is a really undesirable quality in my eyes…in business, relationships, and life in general, and it’s a shame that I see it so often. It takes very little effort to let someone know if you change your plans and it affects them. A simple text message will suffice. I really don’t understand what is running through people’s minds when they change plans. Example: several times I have people ask me if I want to meet, and we solidify plans for a certain time. I now religiously check in with them to confirm that we are still going. Often I receive a response “I’ll keep you updated”. Then, 20 minutes before, I am required to check in again, and receive a response to the effect of “oh, I changed my mind”. That’s wonderful, when were you planning on letting me know?
I’m not saying people should not change their minds, they are more than entitled to do so. On occasion I will be running late to a meeting or have to rearrange my schedule to fit things in. However, even if I’m running 10 minutes late, I will call and let people know. I do this for the same reason that I use my turn signal when changing lanes: the effort I must put into it is nothing compared to the benefit everyone else receives from knowing what I’m doing. It’s almost as if people are implying “my time is so incredibly valuable compared to yours that I don’t need to bother”. That is ridiculously rude in both life and the business world.
I’ve been fortunate enough to see this pretty rarely in the business world (and unfortunate in that it is a daily occurrence in my personal life), but I know plenty of less fortunate people. How frequent is this in your life, and how much does it bother you in both business and personal realms (i.e. am I overreacting?)?