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Don’t Take This Personally

7th June 1938: Austrian physician and founder of psychoanalysis, Sigmund Freud (1856 – 1939). (Photo by Keystone/Getty Images)

Has anyone ever said that to you? What was your immediate reaction? “I’m taking this personally no matter what you say?” Today’s question, as you may have guessed, is when should you take it personally and when should you not?

Is Work Personal?

One of the best business lessons I ever received was from a former employer who was relieving me of my living wage. He told me that the decision to “kick me to the curb,” was “Business; not personal.” I will have to admit that it’s really hard to see the business part and separate it from the personal part. There is a natural reaction that you are being relieved of duty because you’re unlikeable. That is rarely the case. Usually the boss interacts with you so seldom they have no idea if they like you or not.

For whatever reason, women seem to take discipline or criticism more personally than men do. Men can scream at each other in the morning and share a beer after work. Women carry the grudge to their grave.

Are Friendships Personal?

When friends do us wrong we all get a feeling that goes way beyond personal. Someone once said, “A friend is a gift you give yourself.” What that means is that you are prepared to go all in for that person and when they do something unfriendly it feels very personal. However, like the co-workers sharing a beer pitcher later, friends have a way of cutting through what’s personal and what’s helpful.

Your friends take the keys when you’ve had too much to drink? Friends will expose all the warts you keep covered because they want to help you be the person they think you can be. Sound a little personal huh?

Some Final Thoughts

People do things that hurt us and help us. Sometimes both are involved in the same act. When your kneejerk reaction is to take something personal stop and think. Is the person just being a jerk, are they having a bad day and taking it out on you, or are they just giving you a little “tough love?”

Tom Egelhoff is an Amazon best selling author of three business books. His 400+ page web site is one of the oldest continuous sites on the Internet. He has been featured on MSNBC’s “Your Business” and quoted in business publications in China, Turkey, India and the UK. He hosts “Open for Business” each week, 11-2 PM Mountain Time on

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