By Ron Ciancutti
I always hated the guy that threw girls in the pool at parties. It was always portrayed as this big joke, but I never recall the person that was thrown in the pool looking like it was very funny. There’s that threatening and stalking moment before it happens when someone grabs somebody and he’s laughing maniacally and the one about to be thrown in is begging to be put down (which makes everyone uncomfortable). Then there’s that clumsy walk to the pool’s edge and due to the victim’s resistance there’s always feet flailing and finger nails being dug in and some innocent bystander (usually a little kid) gets kicked or run over or something and starts to cry. And if there’s a dog, he’s barking uncontrollably at the chaos. And then, in she goes and her leg gets cut on the edge of the pool and everyone shames the guy who is by now pretending it’s a lot funnier than it is although he probably took a foot to the chin at some point and is too embarrassed to admit it. Now she gets out of the pool and her hair, make-up and outfit are ruined and other people are looking at her attacker like he’s an idiot and he’s telling everyone to lighten up, but the fact is he wishes he never did it. He’s embarrassed and actually regrets not thinking it through.
All of this because someone imposed their will on some innocent bystander who wasn’t bothering anyone. I find this little example to be a good one as it captures so much of the point I am trying to convey.
Why do we force things and push our will on others even and especially when we know it’s not what they want? Even if the pusher gets what he wants for the moment, inevitably the result becomes negative and everything that stems from the original push doesn’t function. I’ll give you a few more examples.
· The one half of a couple that pushes his/her mate into getting engaged.
· The one half of a couple that pushes their mate into making the relationship “physical” before the other is truly ready.
· The parent that pushes the kid into a career he/she didn’t pick because that parent wishes he/she had such a chance.
· The business owner that forces his kids into the family business like it or not.
· The salesman that talks the young couple into an expensive warranty or service plan that they can’t afford.
· The kids that are forced to play sports that their parents excelled at and can’t quite let go of.
All of these examples wind up following the same pattern as the first example. Simply put, they backfire. You can push your way forward to get what you want but you can’t expect people to like you for it or be happy that they have become part of it.
Even worse are those that relentlessly push for what they want and have developed tactics to get you to sway their way. Be wary of these methods that are sometimes hard to detect.
THE DECOY: Like many of the television offers that tell you they are going to double the order for free, but you will pay the extra shipping and handling. Better find out what that extra bottle costs to mail before placing your order.
THE SWITCH: I’ve experienced real estate sales people who have wanted to meet us for lunch at some high-end restaurant to discuss an offer. The idea is to make the setting very celebratory and non-confrontational so that none of the conversation gets aggressive and I, as the client, am willing to listen better. Also if I don’t accept the offer there is pressure that I have kind of “killed” the moment. Just another push.
THE HURRY UP: Quick speaking to get the listener to agree so that he doesn’t feel or look ignorant. You know the type, right?
“Ronnie, am I right or am I right? “
“Huh? Well I guess so.”
“C’mon, you know I am … RIGHT?”
“Yeah, I guess so.”
THE COPYCAT: This guy agrees with everything you say and even mimics your body movement to appear “in concert” with you. He may even take on your slang or accent to get your acceptance. Again, another whole way of “pushing you into the pool” although this is without physical interplay.
As this era wears on and our politicians and leaders continue to disappoint by making a bargaining chip out of being honest, I just wanted to air some of my methods for “smoking out” the general offenders. Stand your ground and be aware my friends, no one should be able to push you in to anything you haven’t thought through. I can tell you my wife and I have walked out of car dealerships, cell phone stores and cable stores because the sale got so aggressive we weren’t even talking about the topic we came in to discuss. Notice your own body language. If you find your hands up like you are physically pushing back—the push is getting too imminent. Walk away, regroup and come back with your thoughts organized.
Ron Ciancutti has worked in the parks and recreation industry since he was 16 years old, covering everything from maintenance, operations, engineering, surveying, park management, design, planning, recreation, and finance. He holds a B.S. in Business from Bowling Green State University and an M.B.A. from Baldwin Wallace University. He has held his current position as Director of Procurement since 1990. He is not on Facebook, but he can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.