Being lazy is about eliminating work and stress as much as possible. It’s about minimizing effort and maximizing results. It’s about being efficient, using very little effort. Being lazy means “takin’ it easy” in all aspects in life and that includes your “people skills.”
As a matter of fact, knowing how to effectively manage your relationships with other people can help boost your own leisure. After all, a great way to avoid work is to have other people do it for you. Plus, if you approach it the right way, the lazy way, you’ll be able to develop meaningful connections with others, without hardly even trying or getting stressed out or causing drama, for that matter.
Well today, we’re going to cover some practical tips on how to manage your relationships (romantic, platonic, business, or otherwise) in the most lazy and easy fashion possible. We’re going to take the “hard work” out of dealing with other people and transform all the “shaky waters” into smooth sailing. By the end of this article, you’ll be on your way to becoming a charming lazy bastard who knows how to develop rapport and handle conflict with ease -- at least that’s the goal.
Earlier in the blog we covered How to be Socially Aware When You’re Socially Awkward, and now we’re gonna step it up a bit and turn that “awareness” into actual “influence”.
The amount of influence you have over someone comes down to your ability to handle the emotions present within the relationship, both yours and the other person’s (and perhaps even shared emotions). In other words, relationship management is about emotional management. When you manage the emotions within the relationship efficiently, you, in turn, manage the relationship itself efficiently. Failure to get a grip on emotions, especially your own, leads to failure in the relationship.
So really, building a strong relationship (of whatever kind) is not so much about “getting along” with each other, but more about understanding your own emotions and allowing the other person to, also, feel understood. Once you have that pat down, it’s a piece of cake. No more bickering or fighting to try and tolerate each other and instead, actually shaping something meaningful and productive.
Basically, you want to learn where to place your energy, so you aren’t wearing each other thin. A procrastin8r NEVER wastes energy, so learn where to put your energy. After all, relationships should build you up, not tear you down. We’re gonna dive into some practical steps to manage your (emotions in your) relationships and create better influence with others towards a common goal, all while maintaining our laziness.
Request. Don’t Demand.
If you want people to follow your lead, have them follow, don’t push them where you want them to go.
One thing to keep in mind is that no one likes being told what to do, not without good reason. People are rebellious at heart and hate someone giving them overbearing commands. They want to be treated like...a person, and not some sort of work horse.
Besides, being a boisterous boss belligerent shouting demands makes you just like that jerk of a boss at your 9 to 5 job you’re trying to get out of.
When it comes to asking people to do what you want, be polite and firm and always answer the “WIIFM”
What’s a WIIFM? Well, it’s short for “What’s In It For Me”. People only care about the benefits they themselves get out of doing something. We’re sort of selfish by nature like that.
Anyway, give them a good goddamn reason to do what you want.
You don’t necessarily have to tell them directly that “it’s a great opportunity”. That will in fact have the opposite effect and make it seem you’re trying to sell them on something. You do want to imply that whatever it is would grant them some sort of advantage or benefit, imply that it’s a great opportunity for them.
You could use the phrase “you could.” Like “You could have a good time with an awesome guy” or “You could put this on your resume”. Ya know, basically say “this is a great opportunity” without actually saying it.
You basically want it to be their own idea. You want to feel like they actually made the choice to participate. They volunteered. They wanted it to happen.
Speaking of choice. You also want to give them a choice, or at the very least the illusion of choice. People have free will and like to enable their own free will, or feel like they can.
“We’re going to eat pizza.” is too stubborn and demanding. Instead use the phrase “if you want” and give them some sort of “choice” to make.
“If you want, we can go get pizza or tacos” See what I did there? Those are two things you want, but you’re offering it as a “choice” to make. You get the idea. The secret is, you’re making the decision, but letting them think they have some sort of influence. They don’t. But ya know, you don’t have to tell them that.
Care “just enough”
If you care too much, you bend over backwards to try and “make things right” and do whatever to please them, but if you don’t care enough, you make them feel used.
Balance is key. Don’t care too little and don’t care too much. The effort you put into a relationship should match the other person’s, no more, no less. You shouldn’t be bending over backwards to make the other person smile, nor should the other person do that for you.
Neither of you should put the other on a pedestal and treat them with divine worship. Treat each other on an equal level of respect.
Now that doesn’t mean you keep track of “oh you did this” and “I did that”. That would be painstakingly tedious and difficult. Plus, rubbing in the other person’s face whenever you did something is annoying and not to mention, really insecure.
Don’t make your relationships a sort of “exchange” of favors. Trading is left for the stock market, not relationships.
You should be willing to give, without expectation. But in the same vein, don’t offer too much, to the point where you’re juggling fire to make them happy.
Self Awareness is key because you know the strengths (and gifts) you have to offer and don’t have to try hard to offer something you don’t naturally give.
Early in our childhood, at some point, we get this toxic idea that being vulnerable leads to pain. It’s the first time we’re called weird or made fun of or flat out bullied just for being...different.
At a young age, we begin to associate being our true selves with being rejected and we tend to try and hide it. We put on masks and identify with certain roles: “the jock”, “the geek”, “the stoner”, in order to fit in with everyone else, and feel worthy and a part of something.
For years, I adapted the role of being a “good Christian”. I acted the way I thought a good Christian would act. I would go to Mass each week. I would read the Bible.I even played Jesus in “the Stations of the Cross”, aka “The Easter Story”
Later did I realize just how limiting living life to fulfill a certain role can be.
There were lies I told myself, lies I told others, all just to maintain a certain image. I pretended like sex before marriage was something evil. I pretended like anyone who didn’t believe in God, no matter how moral they were, deserved to burn in hell.
I would close off and shut out a lot of what I thought was my own “badness”, denying my true self. Now, an atheist, I’m free to express myself and am no longer held back by limiting, and frankly self-righteous, beliefs.
The thing is, the world is a giant jigsaw puzzle and we’re all a unique piece. We’re trying to “fit in” by being the same piece as everybody else, but really, the only way to “create the final picture” is to each be our own unique one.
Plus, playing a life-long game of charade is a lot of work, man. Be honest and don’t hold back. Not everyone is going to like you, and that’s cool. That’s whatever.
Stop giving a fuck about what other people think and just be open about who you actually are.
The people that like you, the people that stick around, are the ones that actually...like YOU, and not some role you’re trying to live up to or pretend to be.
Be curious (find their story)
Since every person is a unique puzzle piece, you want to find the “edges” of a person.
After all, you can’t really influence anyone if you don’t understand who the fuck they actually are.
I went to college for broadcasting, and in the few journalism classes I managed not to sleep through, one of the takeaways I got was to ask the question:“What’s the story?” in every situation.
Every single person you meet has their own story, just like you. Uncover the truth of who they are and how they got to where they are. Understand (The big U in C.O.U.C.H) the events that lead them to become the person they are today.
Be genuinely curious to find out their story. Ask questions. Deep dive.
This will create a bond between the two of you and allow you to see things from their perspective, like why they react the way they do, what makes them tick. You can then cater your requests you ask of them towards their story, and make them feel like the hero of their own tale.
People are drawn to those that “get” them and have “read” their story through and through.
Match your body language with words. Be direct. Aligns words and actions with intent.
Don’t beat around the bush and avoid any sort of passive aggressiveness. Say how you feel and follow through with action.
If you say you’d love to help your friend move, but then find an excuse not to go, you’re not being very consistent, are you?
Instead, just say something like “Hey, I’d really not want to spend my weekend carrying furniture. I’ve got better things to do. Besides, I’m pretty lazy to be schlepping things around”, then spend your weekend doing whatever you want.
Match what you’re saying with what you’re doing. People may not necessarily appreciate you all the time but they will respect you and your consistency. They’ll think “Wow, this guy (or gal) really says what she means.”
If you say what you mean, people won’t fuck with you. They’ll take you seriously as a person.
There’s this false notion that if you don’t do what people want or expect of you, then you’re being rude. You’re not being rude at all. You’re simply expressing your boundaries. Having boundaries doesn’t make you a rude person, at least not if you’re polite about it.
You can be firm, without being rude. You can say NO, without being an asshole. As a matter of fact, the word “NO” is something you should get used to having in your dictionary.
Remember by saying “No” to one thing, you are saying “Yes” to another. The key is to focus on what you actually want to say yes to. This makes it easy to say “No” as in “No, that’s not what I want. That’s not what I like.”
Say Thank you, please, and sorry when appropriate (don't overdo it though)
If you are appreciative of someone or something they did for you, don’t hesitate to let them know. If you do something and are truly sorry, say so.
This goes along with expressing how you really feel.
Don’t say thank you or sorry just to say it though. So many people over apologize. Oh sorry, sorry. The big S word.
You should try to use it as sparingly as possible, so that people know when you’re sorry, you mean it and when you’re thankful, you mean it too. When you use these sorts of words too much, they become deaf to the ear.
Are you really sorry or do you just want their approval? Sometimes you’re gonna get someone upset or piss them off, but you shouldn’t apologize just to make yourself feel better. If you must apologize, do it for them. Do it because you genuinely want them to feel better, not to alleviate your own guilt.
Likewise, don’t say “thank you” just to win points. If you don’t appreciate what someone did, tell them. Honesty is the best practice. It may hurt them a bit, they’ll take a blow to the Ego, but ultimately, they’ll respect your integrity and truthfulness.
If you notice someone apologizing for something ridiculous, just tell them “I forgive you.” They’ll usually be like “well you don’t have to forgive me. I mean---” Well they don’t have to apologize!
Take negative feedback well
There are two types of criticism. The first is mindless hate. These are the “trolls” that are just trying to bring you down to your level. The second type is thoughtful review. These are friends, family, and people you care about trying to help you get better.
The first type should be ignored. No need to listen to insecure people pout their bullshit.
The second should be listened to, without getting butt hurt. Look, you’re not a perfect person, and that’s okay. Don’t try to lie to yourself or anyone by pretending you are perfect. Don’t wear a mask of beauty and perfection.
Flaunt your scars and flaws. Let people point them out. Learn to make the best of them, instead of getting all insulted and downbeat.
You can’t get too emotionally attached to the idea that people are always going to compliment you and provide positive feedback. Take negative feedback with a grain of salt. It’s meh. It’s whatever. You’ll get better, eventually.
Someone pointing out your flaws doesn’t make you a bad person. It doesn’t mean they hate you. It just means you’ve got some shit to get better at.
Keep an open door policy
Be open to listening to feedback at any time. Don’t make it a fight. Don’t argue. Just listen.
Make people feel that they can approach you with their concerns and criticisms.
Of course, on the same token, don’t let them walk all over you and blame you for everything wrong in the relationship. Stick up for yourself, when appropriate. Know where to draw the line.
There is a fine line between admitting where you went wrong and being gaslit.
Own your own mistakes, but don’t be a scapegoat for every single fuck up that happens. Allow people to call you out on your bullshit.
It’s only fair to let them, if you insist on calling them out on theirs. And since you want to be honest, trust me, you’re going to have a lot of bullshit to call people out on, instead of biting your tongue.
Don't ignore anger but use it appropriately (right time, right place, right person)
Anger is seen as a bad thing, typically. I mean obviously, screaming, shouting, and hitting are not good things, and that’s usually caused by anger, but it’s not the anger itself.
Anger, at its core, if we take a step back, is fiery passion. It’s a high amount of energy towards something.
You can either unleash it in a bitter rage or use it as fuel to go after or express what it is you want or need.
Ignoring anger, or suppressing it, only makes the anger grow into heavier and heavier resentment, which is going to unleash wildly sooner or later. The more you try to control anger, the more out of control it becomes.
Instead of ignoring it all together, you must examine your anger, where its coming from, and be able to express it effectively. Use that passion to really say what you mean.
No matter how cool, calm, and laid back you are as a lazy procrastin8r, you’re going to get angry about some things. Don’t brush it off or stuff it down.
Be angry. Be mad. But know what to do with it and how to let it out.
You can “hold” anger back, temporarily, but you can never truly overlook it or forget about it. It’ll find a way out of your system one way or another, even if that means shouting in a fit of rage.
Anger builds upon itself if you’re not careful, so let it out in a mature way. Say what pisses you off without the outburst.
Be able to cope with people you hate
You’re not going to like everyone and not everyone is going to like you. That’s just a fact of life. You can’t avoid it. You can’t please everyone. They can’t please you.
You’re going to get on each other’s nerves with some people and vice versa. Now you don’t have to create a joyous relationship with these types of people, but sometimes you have to at least not strangle each other and get the task at hand done.
Whether that’s working on a project with a co-worker together, living together with a roommate, or whatever sort of “unavoidable” situation you find yourself in with this person, you do not have to make them your enemy.
Now, eventually, if you’re not already, you’re going to get out of that 9 to 5 job you loathe, so we can probably nix the co-worker situation, but there are still plenty of instances where you’re going to have to deal with people you don’t like.
Maybe you don’t like the waitress at the restaurant you frequent or your doctor you visit or whatever.
That doesn’t mean you ignore any of the information about emotional control and remaining relaxed in consistent chill we talked about.
As a matter of fact, dealing with people you don’t like is the ultimate test of your emotional maturity. If you can handle those you can barely tolerate with poise and grace, you can certainly flourish when it comes with those who actually like you.
Remember, it’s not about getting to “like” each other, it’s about staying strong, stoic, and poise. It’s about embracing your laziness and staying laid-back, no matter how much this person grinds your gears.
Back to being demanding (and avoiding that), if you do make a decision and can’t or won’t take the other person’s feedback or input, explain why you did what you did or are going to do what you’re going to do.
Don’t leave them in the dark. Just be up front and honest. It may hurt them a bit, initially, but it’s much better than the long, slow pain of figuring out what in the actual fuck just took place.
“Ghosting”, as an example, is a pretty common thing in the dating world now. One person decides they’re not interested in the other and instead of using big boy/girl words and saying “Hey, I’m going to stop talking to you. I’m not really interested,” they just disappear (like a ghost) and completely stop responding or saying anything.
It leaves the other person wondering “WTF happened?”
Similarly, there’s cheating. One person is unhappy in the relationship and instead of having the conversation of “Hey, I’m not happy anymore. We’re breaking up.” they act like everything’s okay and meanwhile sneak behind the other’s back to sleep with someone else.
Whatever pain you’re trying to prevent by not being straightforward about your intention is multiplied when you try to hide it. Remember that.
Earlier we talked about how you must be open to receiving constructive criticism, and briefly touched on how “calling out bullshit” is a two-way street.
Well, in calling out on someone’s bullshit, there’s an effective way and not so effective way to do it.
The not so effective way would be to berate them and make them feel bad until they admit they were wrong. It never works and usually ends up in a fight.
The effective way would be to first empathize with them a bit and see things from their perspective, then share your opinion (why you think it’s bullshit), and finally, offer some sort of solution.
You want to set the tone of “I understand why you did what you did, but you could do better and here’s how”. Let them know you understand why they did what they did, but make it clear you want them to change and exactly what steps they need to take in order to do that.
Fix conversations before they break beyond repair.
Let go of blame. Focus on resolution rather than being right. There’s no need to escalate things into a heated argument. There’s no need to “win”.
Tension is inevitable, but drama is a choice. Try to steer things towards solving the issue at hand, rather than “getting the upper hand”. You may be wrong, in some sense.
Fess up to your fuck ups, let it go, and focus on how to move forward. The longer you try to get the other person to tell you you’re right, the longer you stagnate growth and forward motion.
It’s the both of you versus the issue, not versus each other. Make it a co-op mission, not a competitive one. Seek to attain a common goal, instead of victory over another.
Take a step back, procrastinate with purpose, and examine your strong points when communicating as well as your weak points. Upgrade strengths. Eliminate weaknesses
Are you good at listening but falter in expressing your own emotions?
Really take a hard look at yourself and ask “What am I doing well?” then try to enhance those features. Ask “What could I improve?” and do what you can to level up and put a stop to your weak behavior.
Before doing any sort of self improvement, you have to know where you’re at. You’re responsible for making your own
No sense focusing on controlling your anger if you’re already a pretty calm person naturally, for example. Put your effort where it’s necessary to improve. Don’t practice a certain act of communication and emotional management just to practice. Practice with purpose.
While knowing people skills may of course benefit your own life personally, no doubt. On the larger scale, it can make a helluva difference.
Look at the world on a political spectrum. The “United” States has never been so divided. Both sides are always arguing and never really coming up with solutions. People don’t know how to hold a mature conversation with someone, without letting their emotions and accusations fly. We end up creating a bigger gap between us and that’s no bueno.
Change happens one person at a time. Be that one person.