Now I will write about things that really annoy me. I will also tell you why that is so and what solutions I found for myself in order to better be able to avoid or put up with them. Let me start with something that keeps happening to me all the time.
Someone who has a certain kind of close relationship with me asks for an appointment without telling me what it is all about. That annoys me.
Imagine the following request:
Hi, Roland, we would like to talk to you again. Wednesday would be a good time for me …
Why does that annoy me?
I feel uneasy. There is the fear that something unpleasant might be in store (for me). Consequently, I start wondering what might have gone wrong. Did I make a mistake? Did I miss/forget something? Why does the other person not tell me what it is all about? I start getting unsure and then there is the feeling that, maybe, this is being done to me on purpose. In order to make me feel bad. I feel threatened. And my fantasy starts going in circles.
How do I cope with it?
Over the years, I learned that it is mostly not evil intent. Persons who approach me in this way mostly would like to talk to me for some harmless reason. Occasionally, they are dissatisfied, but do not really know why. Or else they have a problem they intuitively feel should be dealt with, but they cannot (yet) formulate it precisely.
In former times, such scenarios sometimes caused me sleepless nights. And then I was relieved when it turned out that nothing really serious was amiss. Now it no longer happens so often. One of the reasons for this is that, if such a request comes in, I usually ask back:
I would love to meet you, but why don’t you first tell me what it is all about? What is the problem? How important is it for you?
Mostly, what you get after asking back is an ad-hoc conversation during which the most important information is already given. More often than not, the person at the other end gets unsure of himself and does not really know how to continue. And I can develop sympathy and signal that I certainly would also like to talk about it. The initiative is back with me. In the end, I look forward to a conversation I was initially quite apprehensive about.
(Translated by EG)