Managing relationships Times of India, 18th May, 2007

 
 

Managing Relationships

                                                        By Kapil Kakar

Managing relationships is an art. As human beings behave and act differently, it is important to understand what behavioural category they belong to and interact accordingly


One of the main reasons why relationships fall apart is because of our tendency of labelling people as, “He is always arrogant...He is foolish...He is selfish”, etc. No individual can always remain arrogant, foolish or selfish, so it is better not to categorise them as such. 


 Most people will fall into one of these categories namely, egoistic, friendly, timid, knowledgeable or business-like. However, as already stated above, never label a person to be always part of one category. Egoist type: Managing a relationship with an egoist person can be quite a daunting task, but only initially. Once a person in ego mode likes you, he can be a great friend. An egoist person has a grandiose image. He thinks he is big, powerful, influential, knowledgeable and always right. Such a person is always in his dream world and thinks he is a king. To effectively manage a relationship with such a person, initially treat him like a king. Flattering comments like, “You are experienced, you have a big set-up”, etc, will make such people happy. The comments should be genuine and one should be sensitive enough to realise what the other person wants to hear. Never try to advise such people. Only suggest by giving options like, “Would it be alright if we do this, which one's a better option?” Thus, egotists can be managed well. Friendly type: In this mode, the individual is happy and an extrovert. He'll be talkative, gregarious. warm, hospitable and like to discuss a lot of generalities. Obviously, one would think it is not difficult to maintain a relationship with a person who is so forthcoming. But one needs to be aware that just because the person is friendly, it should not put us in an egoist or knowledgeable mode, making us take the person for granted. We are likely to feel that we are more intelligent than him. And as a result of our undesirable behaviour, the relationship will suffer.


Timid type:

These individuals do not like to speak much. They are mostly unsure about things and hence like to stay quiet. They have this fear of saying the wrong thing and getting embarrassed. They like to watch rather than actively participate. They are simply indecisive about showing their skills. 


   To effectively manage a relationship with them, one needs to be optimistically charged. One needs to speak positively about things and throw qualitative questions at them, so that they slowly open up. One needs to beware of not overshooting questions, as it does not go down well with them. One needs to give them space and not suffocate them. Such people seek reassurance through examples from real life.

Knowledgeable type:

People in this mode are men of few words. They have a very clear understanding of what they want to do and how they want to do it. Such people come to a conclusion after lot of detailing and research and are laconic in speech. 


   For effective relationships with them, one must not speak unnecessarily; one should also be aware of what he/she is saying. In other words it is better to avoid speaking loosely, without substantiated facts to such an individual. One should also compliment him for his knowledge and not get defensive or intimidated by it.

Business-like:

These people have no time for gossip. They will become extrovert only if they feel you are talking about something that interests them. Individuals in this mode are busy and will respond with a “hmm” or ask straight questions. Managing a relationship with them requires honesty and efficiency. One should not beat around the bush but give straight answers. One also needs to be patient while managing such individuals. 


   Everyone, be it our family, friends, relatives, customers, boss, subordinate — each of them can be described in one of these modes. We need to identify which mode they are in and manage our relationships accordingly.