“I’m surrounded by people, but there’s no one I can open up to and share my troubles with… I wish someone could give me the answers I need.”
If this sounds like something you’d say, ask our M.o.M. Suh Yoon! Email us at email@example.com. We’ll publish the best questions with Suh Yoon’s answers here in YooooN magazine.
Q: I’m a consultant at a management consulting firm. Last year, I worked on a management project with 5 of my coworkers. One of them was really nice when the team first met. He said, “I’m so glad to do this with such good teammates. I’ll do my best. Let me know if you have trouble with anything.”
This guy seemed really driven at first. But he changed the longer we worked on the project. He’d go home early when we had to stay late, claiming he didn’t feel well. He’d pass off lengthier tasks to other team members with excuses like “I’m not good with Excel”. He wouldn’t answer important emails after work or on weekends. We were all angry at him, but we kept it to ourselves because we didn’t want to risk ruining our teamwork.
We worked on this project for 3 months and it finally came time to present it. To our surprise, this guy insisted on doing the presentation himself. He was really determined and swore he’d tell the bosses how hard we all worked on the project. We felt uneasy about it, but let him present in the end. But then he totally changed on the day of the presentation. He talked to our bosses as if he’d been the one to do most of the work on the project. Naturally, they focused their praise on him. I later learned that he’d spent time with them even while the project was ongoing to tell them how it was going and report on how hard he was working. This guy ended up with the highest score on our personnel evaluations as a result.
I heard recently that this guy wanted to get a new job at another company with a 20% salary increase. He claims on his resume that he was our project leader. He came to me out of nowhere not long ago with a present, telling me that he hoped I’d say nice things about him if the company he wanted to move to called to check his references. In return, he’d recommend me if I wanted to move to that company. I wasn’t sure what to do after hearing this. Do I need to tell the truth? If I speak well of him, he might help me get a job at his new company. But can I trust him? I’m still angry when I think about what happened with the project last year. What should I do?
– Mark from Connecticut
A: There’s a strong chance your relationship with this colleague is a bad one. Relationships in which you’ve extended goodwill but are betrayed are generally bad relationships. It’s like a piece of junk food which is sweet to the taste but bad for the body.
You need to decisively end bad relationships. People’s good or bad fortune often depends on their relationships. Good fortune comes through good relationships and misfortune through bad relationships. We should only entrust our precious hearts to good relationships.
‘But isn’t it wrong for me to coldly end a relationship?’ ‘Nothing guarantees a relationship will be bad.’ There’s no need to burden yourself with these feelings of guilt or obligation. Don’t hold on to vague hopes that ‘This might be helpful in the future’. Confucius said, ‘Have no friends not equal to yourself.’ Here, ‘not equal to yourself’ means lacking in character. It has nothing to do with a person’s social standing or wealth.
Naturally, it’s very difficult to simply cut off some relationships, especially those that you are in because of blood ties or work such as relatives, coworkers, or bosses. In such cases, it’s best to keep a certain distance from these people. Try to stop thinking about them constantly. Negative emotions give energy to bad relationships and negatively affect your own life as well.
If you have no choice but to see the person, try as hard as you can not to concern yourself with them. There are some types of people you absolutely cannot accept. You don’t need to trouble your mind or try to understand these people. You can see them face to face while still maintaining a distance from them in your mind. If you still feel uneasy, take some time alone to wait for your anger to subside.
So how can we avoid bad relationships from the get-go? First, you should reflect on your own heart. Bad relationships often begin when you expect too much from the other person. A mind that only wants to receive blinds you so that you cannot judge relationships well. If, on the other hand, you lower your expectations and think about being the first to offer something or trying to give back more than you get, you will be able to avoid bad relationships and encounter good ones. Whether you form good or bad relationships depends ultimately on you.
Second, develop a good relationship with yourself. Most people suffering through bad relationships aren’t bad people; on the contrary, they’re kind people who hate to hurt others’ feelings. When problems arise within their relationships, they lay the blame on their own shoulders and are left with wounded hearts. For that reason, they struggle to coldly step away from bad relationships. You need to restore trust in yourself and self-respect in order to avoid bad relationships and encounter good ones.
Relationships and destiny are linked in a sort of butterfly effect. The fluttering of a tiny butterfly’s wings influences life itself. When you see the seed of a bad relationship around you, don’t waste any time. Cut it off at the root right then and there.
Suh Yoon’s Quotes:“You need to decisively end bad relationships. People’s good or bad fortune often depends on their relationships. Good fortune comes through good relationships and misfortune through bad relationships. We should only entrust our precious hearts to good relationships.”
“Relationships and destiny are linked in a sort of butterfly effect. The fluttering of a tiny butterfly’s wings influences life itself. When you see the seed of a bad relationship around you, don’t waste any time. Cut it off at the root right then and there.”