On Life

Relation-Ship Out

Remember when you were little and your parents or caregiver told you to “find the right friends” and hang around with others who have common interests—ultimately people who make you feel good about yourself and keep you from getting into trouble? They were spot on, you see. When you allow other people to infect your world with negativity, you’ve got to turn a blind eye to it, or do something more drastic. Like stay away from it altogether.

This happens to people, both in the work setting and in our personal settings. It can grab hold of us whether it’s with a group of friends, one particular friendship, working relationships, or someone who’s in a romantic relationship, but shouldn’t be in that relationship. You know why it’s called a relationship, right?

If the RELATION is not working, you should SHIP out.

Many moons ago, I was hanging around with someone who just brought, as my friend Jenny and many others love to call it, bad ‘juju’ to the party. I didn’t want to get caught up in a web of negativity, nor did I want to spend my time gossiping. When you surround yourself with this type of absolute nonsense, it makes you, as Southwest Airlines used to say…Wanna get away. Set sail, baby.

We talk about these types of philosophies in our courses in Interpersonal Communication and Business and Professional Communication. The way we feel about relationships plays into our overall morale, both professionally and personally. In the workplace, it can be deadly when the grapevine takes hold—negativity spirals out of control. Likewise, the same holds true for our personal relationships.

Confucius. Photo credit: Asia Society.

My husband sent me this great quote by Confucius the other day. It’s really something to live by:

The nobler sort of man emphasizes the good qualities in others, and
does not accentuate the bad. The inferior does the reverse.
— Confucius (551-479 BC) Chinese Philosopher

So if you find yourself becoming bogged down by unhealthy gossip and heavy interpersonal relationships, allow Confucius’ words to take hold. After all, he was a pretty smart man.

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