Found yourself unexpectedly pregnant and trying to procure an abortion so that you can live out the rest of your life in the way that makes sense for you? You’re doing a good job.

Parenting a child who is in a constant and extreme state of rage or panic or both, despite your best efforts at mollification and a whole lot of counting to three? You’re doing such a good job, my friend.

Gained weight on your vacation because you forgot to think about whether or not you’re allowed to eat stuff or rest your body or enjoy your short precious life, so then you just did what you wanted? Really good job.

Showing up for your friends in ways you can’t really afford, financially or emotionally, because you know they need it? You’re full of love and also you’re doing a good job.

Said the wrong thing and hurt someone and then APOLOGIZED FOR IT LIKE A GODDAMN ADULT? Hey, guess what.

Hannah Matthews on support.

One of first One Weird Manager Tricks I learnt was that one of the best ways to get good outcomes out of people is to just be kind to them. Most of the time you don’t even actually have to do anything; just recognize that people are (or want to be) acting in good faith and doing their best,1 praise them for whatever it is they seem currently proud of, sympathize with them if they’re under pressure, or tell them that it’s okay to mess up if they’re trying to honestly make things better. This seems to work especially well on Millennials and/or people from marginalized groups, which I’m sure won’t surprise anyone. And while this is a work technique, it’s also useful in non-work interpersonal situations.

Also? It’s just emotionally easier than being constantly wound-up over and/or hypercritical of and/or trying to “change” everyone all the time.2

The caveat is, of course, knowing your personal/professional boundaries, and being able to recognize when someone is not acting in good faith and thus not worth your emotional energy. And for those people? Just walk away. They aren’t worth it.

  1. Even if they’re not, most of the time just assuming they are will guilt them into trying harder.
  2. Feel free to remain wound-up over/hypercritical of/trying to change, like, non-people things, if that’s Your Bag Baby. It sure is mine!