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Emotional stress and kindness at work

Avoiding being a jerk and doormat either

The Internet teaches us to behave politely on a daily basis. Scientific journals claim that nice people do better in life, and we can’t be rude when it comes to dealing with conflicts.

Problem solving and stress management have become our companions in the fight for the civilized society, but is it really important to be nice all the time? We think that the word itself has gained a negative connotation recently. When we are given an opportunity to choose between black and white, it is quite tempting, as it limits our choice to a narrow set of options.

Acknowledging that the world is grey, on the other hand, helps us understand people and adopt strategies, necessary for survival. You shouldn’t be left with the one-sided picture of the world and expand your personal horizons. This way, you will learn to deal with different types of personalities and be able to maneuver around the office better. The scheme that psychology articles propose is always the same: take an honest reply and squeeze it between two meaningless compliments. This will help you break the ice between colleagues and build a team that does not appreciate negative feedback.

In search of the truth

The nice approach, however, tip-toes on the edge of hypocrisy: people start to avoid snarky comments by all means, and want to please each and every one in the room. Share the truth that you want to talk about, and think about your job as some kind of challenge. You face it like Julius Caesar, and then you make a decision that is going to define further course of work. When you cooperate with people who know their position and are ready to give a project their best shot, it doesn’t really matter whether they are polite or a little edgy.

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They are doing their job, and that’s what really counts. Unfortunately, in the age of civilized reply, it is hard to draw the line between classical and innovative. This eventually leads to an emotional stress – no once can be that nice all the time! The spectrum of natural feelings is quite broad, and we cannot limit it to soft, predictable emotions. We become so obsessed with making an impression that present a better, modernized version of ourselves. Robotic replies and polite conversations are the constant companions of the office corporate culture, and it is hard to define who you really are once you are involved with this scheme.

To avoid being a fake and sounding fake on the phone, try to interpret feedback the way it is. Do not exaggerate the meaning of a polite reply, and leave your cautious tactics for another time. When you need to solve a problem, and it has to be done immediately, there is no nice way of sharing the message. We are forced to act courteously around other people, though we may be enraged inside. Something that makes our blood boil cannot be ignored, no matter how hard you try.

The concept of being nice is called assumed benevolence, and that is what people expect of you, especially if they have been around for ages and know you like their brother or sister. If you are working remotely, it is also important to maintain friendly communication with your colleagues, and corporate etiquette has always been considered as a universal language of politeness that helps you stay afloat. You shouldn’t, however, give way to politeness tactics that bring harm. If you need this report today, and the colleague seems to be too vague about it, don’t be afraid to insist and strengthen your position as you demand timely delivery.