If you've ever asked someone if they've been avoiding you, they have!" Most people won't tell you that of course because they're trying to be polite. They'll tell you that they've been busy or that they didn't receive your message or some other white lie, but they won't tell you the truth. And the truth is, "Yes," they have been avoiding you and here's why.
We go into avoidance mode when we anticipate an unpleasant experience. We put off seeing the dentist in anticipation of physical pain. We avoid firing an unproductive employee because we don't want to deal with the emotional issues and guilt. We ignore telephone calls from certain people because we don't enjoy talking to them. We're a community of people who would rather avoid and lie when we get caught, than have to deal with an unpleasant experience. We like people who make us feel good about ourselves and we don't like people who make us feel bad. When you ask someone if they've been avoiding you, they're going to lie. It's easier for them to make a lame excuse and spare your feelings, than it is for them to confront you with the truth. Unfortunately, in doing so, they will feel bad about themselves for lying, and like you less in the process.
Help Me Feel Good About Myself
If you want people to like you, you must help them feel good about themselves and you can't do that by putting them in a no-win position of either having to lie to you or hurt your feelings. Here's the solution. Start with the understanding that the person you've been trying to contact has not gotten back to you for one of three reasons.
- They never received the message that you were trying to contact them.
- They're too busy to get back to you.
- They don't want to talk to you.
The most important thing to understand, no matter what the reason, is that no one is going to call you back if they're anticipating a negative experience. Why do you think people avoid talking to creditors, stalkers and relatives who are always asking for favors?
They Aren't Returning My Calls
If you've tried to contact someone two or more times without hearing back from them, here's what I suggest you to do.
- Try to contact them using another medium. If for example you've left two telephone messages, try sending them an email or a letter through the mail. There is a chance that they don't know you're trying to get a hold of them.
- If you write an email or leave a message on the telephone, let them know what you want to talk about and ask them to get back to you by a certain time. If they don't respond, they've either been kidnapped by Somalian pirates or they're avoiding you.
- If you get the feeling that someone is avoiding you, here are your choices.
- Make it easy for them to get back to you. Don't force a one-on-one conversation. Write a letter, send an email or ask someone else to convey your message for you.
- Give them a pleasant reason for getting back to you. I'm much more likely to contact a creditor if he or she tells me that they can help me keep my car rather than telling me they're going to send the repo man if they don't hear from me by Friday.
- Ask yourself this question. If roles were reversed, what would I want the person who is trying to contact me to do? Then do it. If you're truthful, you may not like the answer, but you'll have a much better understanding of how you're making the other person feel.
- And finally, drop it and move on with your life. If you continue to try to make contact with someone who doesn't want to talk to you, they'll see you as a stalker. Get over the fact that not everyone is going to like you or want to talk to you. Like Yogi Berra said, "If the fans don't come out to the ball park, you can't stop them.
- If you've ever asked someone if they're avoiding you, they are.
- Don't put anyone in the position of having to lie to you in order to spare your feelings.
- Make people look forward to talking to you.
- Not everyone is going to like you or want to talk to you and that's OK.
- You don't have to know why someone is avoiding you to live a happy, productive life.
If you would like to learn more about how the role likeability plays in your life and in your sales, join me, Bob Sommers, the Likeability Guy at www.BobSommers.com