Who Really Cares About What People Think About You?

In today’s climate where civility has seemingly taken a back seat to “being real (as one leader described his profane-laced response to a question),” let’s get back to the basics of what to do when confronted with crude and rude behavior. In this first post of this series, let’s explore whether we should even care about what people think about us.

You find out at work that someone was talking crazy about you. It was about something you did that gave them a reason to talk behind your back and word got back to you about it.

You confront the person and the conversation leads to an argument. The person denies saying anything about you. What do you do now? Do you continue to try to get to the truth? Do you think he’s lying? Do you call him a liar?

Unfortunately, this situation happens often. It can be at work or in your personal life. Here’s a question to ask yourself, why should you care what other people think about you? Are you happy with yourself and who you’ve become? If so, it doesn’t really matter what others are thinking.

Conversely, if you are unhappy with yourself, and you are engaging in improper behavior toward others, this could be the reason for their uneasiness. In this situation, they may be justified in those thoughts. Be open and listen to what is being said about you. This may be an opportunity for improvement.

The other side to this is that you may not have done anything wrong. Some people are going to talk about you no matter what. Those same people are not just talking about you. They tend to be the gossips of the group and will talk about anyone given the opportunity. Don’t waste your time taking these people seriously nor should you take what they say personally.

However, consider those who offer you constructive criticism. If they are justified in their advice, embrace it as a learning experience and a growth moment. If you feel they are not justified by their criticism, they could simply be negative and unhappy with their own lives. It’s best to stay away from these people. Try not to confront them unless they are causing you harm in some way. Most of the time, it’s best to ignore what they say. The problem is with them.

Your true friends will accept who you are and not try to change you. There will be times when they won’t appreciate certain things you do or say. But, if they are genuine friends, they will reach out to you. Keep an open mind and consider what they have to say before reacting. This doesn’t mean they are right, but you know that they’re coming from a good place. When they are right, be sure to acknowledge it and make changes, if needed.

There will be times when you are going to be tempted to defend your honor. And there will be times when you must defend your honor. Know when to defend and when to overlook the foolishness. You have to stay focused. Distractions are your biggest adversary in achieving your success. Let those who choose to stay on the sidelines of life do what they do best: Nothing. You’re on a mission to soar. Stay focused on your journey to greatness.

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About Nancy Gettridge

Nancy Gettridge is founder of Phenomenal Image, a career strategy coaching firm dedicated to helping women reach their full leadership potential.  Frequent points of discussion include aligning one's life purpose to one's career and gender bias in the workplace.   Other key topics include career strategy, leadership, and overcoming workplace issues.  You can get weekly career tips straight to your email by subscribing here

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