Misery Loves Company

Misery Loves Company

Misery loves company, but what it really needs is compassion. As humans from birth we are wired to copy everything we see people doing.  Being a little sponge that  absorbs all of the behaviors helped us survive, but these same social habits can actually make things worse in our relationships.

How easy is it to panic when your partner is panicking? Or when they blame you for a problem to point your finger at them? When a coworker starts complaining about their current project do you double down and share your woes?  You might feel some camaraderie or like you had to hold your own with them but it isn’t actually helping the situation.

 In times of stress or conflict, the best way forward is to complement not copy.

What do I mean by complementary?  Are you thinking about what you learned in art class about color theory like orange and blue or in geometry about angles?  I am talking about how Miriam Webster’s defines it: “serving to fill out or to complete and mutually supplying each other’s lack”. But all of the definitions really mean to balance and make whole.

Not sure how to be complementary?

  • Figure out where they are coming from – What if you gave them the space to panic or complain or blame? Maybe they just need to vent and the tension will evaporate on it it’s own.
  • Don’t Amplify – If you notice you are both going off the deep end, take a step back. Sometimes it can be enough to just pause.
  • Opposites Attract- Or instead of joining them you met them with the opposite emotion- calm instead of panic, gratitude instead complaint?

Your compassion creates a balance in the relationship. You will be better together.  I am not saying it will be easy to be cheerful and patient with a mean and stressed out colleague… Might not even feel worth it sometimes but IT IS. Because frustration, anger and resentment fester and drain the productivity out of a team. Misery is contagious-you don’t want to catch it. Compassion is the cure.