Thursday, October 18, 2012

Eternity High

I graduated from Beachwood High School in 1986. As a teenager, I was comforted in knowing that we’d all be adults soon. In my teenage eyes, adulthood meant maturity and an end to immature high school antics like cliques, mean girls, rumor mongers, teasing and bullying. Here I am 26 years later, and sadly for many people, high school has never ended.

In fact, in many ways the work world is just an extension of high school. You have your departmental cliques and cliques within those departments. You have your teachers pets expect now they are kissing up to the boss. You have your gossips and you even have the fashion police. In fact, you meet these people not just at work but in other social groupings as well – church, volunteer organizations. Ah, some things never change!

It isn’t really any better on the personal front. You have those relatives who enjoy stoking the flames of discord at family gatherings. You date the guy (or girl) who still plays silly jealousy games. And let’s not forget the hyper competitive parent living out his dreams through his child.

Luckily, not every high school graduate maintains a high school outlook. Many of us do move on, and, more importantly, grow up. Yet, we still have to deal with our colleagues, acquaintances and relatives who decided to stay forever in the comfort of the 11th grade.

The best way to deal with these people is to see them for what and who they are. Often times, we want to give people the benefit of the doubt, and that is fine. However, if they continue to exhibit this kind of behavior then we have to realize that it is probably more than an instance of immaturity and it’s probably just who they are. They might be great people in other ways; however, they are who they are.

Once you realize that, start to put some distance between you and that person. It isn’t physical distance but emotional distance that matters. Do not take these people into your inner circle. Do not confide in them or trust them with sensitive information. Also don’t engage in gossip or talking about other people with them.

While some people never graduate, it is up to those of us who did to keep those held back in their place (or at least from ruining our lives).

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