When you deal with people – in fact, especially when you deal with lots of people and are very good at dealing with people – mistakes get made. It is not possible to avoid getting on someone’s nerves for a small thing.

What will inevitably happen is that the small thing won’t be let go. It will be used against you at the worst time, usually while you’re in the midst of doing things for that person. Part of what makes one good at dealing with people is that one is able to give, not merely persuade. But that you have power over both must mean something is wrong.

Since you’re not perfect, that means not only are you imperfect but you have a fatal flaw which, viewed correctly, makes all actions suspect.

There is an enormous resentment that can be unleashed when bonds are just being forged, because quite a few people have nothing better to do but think about how much better they are than others. This exact same charge will be leveled at you.

Because it is just the beginning of a relationship, you can let go. You can apologize and step back and not care. There’s only one problem with that – the small things that get on someone else’s nerves might reveal more about them than you.

In most cases I have found that stepping back and letting someone have their pride creates a relationship that is mediocre at best. After all, you’re the one striving to find common ground, to be nice to others, to give the benefit of the doubt. That you wouldn’t be given a similar generosity is a problem: it means that you have to placate someone else’s ego to be let in their “lives.”

Now I should make clear that some people are absolutely worth this placation. Some people are really amazing and arrogant at the same time. Sometimes you do have to kowtow because they’re ultimately right.

And sometimes – especially if you’re the one reaching out – that person is you. Being someone who’s good with people isn’t about being nice all the time. It’s also about knowing that what you do is worth having pride in, and knowing you deserve to be reached out to also.

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