Do You Have A Double Standard?

By: George Verdolaga Building Relationships, Building Your Brand, Career & Business No Comments Apr 23, 2012

Are you unfailingly considerate with your boss and co-workers and then uncommunicative to members of your family at the end of the day, choosing to bury yourself in a book or watch TV instead?

Do you treat restaurant servers, the mail (or newspaper) delivery person and the store clerk with unfailing politeness and then treat your friends – or your spouse – impatiently or even shabbily?

Do you come to work promptly and deliver your projects on time at the office, but arrive late to your own personal commitments or fail to deliver on your promises to your friends or relatives, since you think “they’re just my friends so they’ll understand”?

You, my friend, have a double standard.

You’re not alone in this, though. Many people seem to live a double life, feeling that outsiders deserve “special” treatment while family members and close friends should be fine with just getting the “regular” treatment. Another way that to look at this is that for people that we feel we have to impress, we tend to look and act our best. But with the people that we know very well and even love, we can “just be ourselves” and hang loose.

Unfortunately, this is the type of behavior out of which anger and resentment builds up. We may even get completely written off by those that we care about as a result of it. If you think that I’m only talking about romantic partners who were initially treated like princesses or queens during the “honeymoon” phase and then eventually taken for granted as the relationship matured, I’m also referring to double standards that exist in business.

Salespeople, for instance, try their hardest whenever they’re trying to sign up prospects to buy their product or service. Once these new clients decide to buy and become “old” clients (i.e. buyers for several years), the tendency is to sometimes get too comfortable and assume that they’ll be clients forever, forgetting to keep making those crucial calls and visits that fan the flames of loyalty.

When the people that we depend on for business (or love) get neglected, then they may end up actually leaving us. We may work our hearts out for our families so that we can provide them the best things in life, but if we don’t give people our precious time (not just any sort of time but also quality time) and attention, then it doesn’t matter what we buy them or how great our product or service is. Without customer support, people won’t continue buying what we have to sell.

Here’s what I recommend so that you can make everyone – at work or at home – happy most (if not all) of the time:

1) Treat everyone special – Rather than deciding to be on time for one person and late for another based on their importance, why not be on time and deliver your best work all the time regardless of who you’re dealing with? Why not be spectacular both at work and at home? Wouldn’t you want to be known as the dependable guy (or gal) in all types of situations rather than in certain ones only? You can be just as good a boss (or employee) as you are a good father, mother, husband, wife or friend. Why is that that people think we can relax our standards of behavior at home and then raise them only when we’re at the office, or having dinner with people we barely know? Surely it pays to always be on our toes all day every day in front of everyone, even people we’ve known all our lives?

2) Make good on your promises – be it big or small – at work or at home – In ancient times, various deals between people were set up based on a simple handshake or verbal agreement. People didn’t bother writing contracts then as breaking one’s oath was considered a heinous crime punishable by exile or grave-digging in some places, or being cursed by the gods in others. Although this is no longer the case – and since people break their promises all the time without seriously intending to – it never makes anyone look good to make commitments they have no time or intention to fulfill, be it large or small (e.g. “drop by anytime” or “let’s get together for lunch sometime”). As they say in business, under-promise and over-deliver. Anyone can promise you the moon and the stars. But it takes a consummate professional to deliver on everything they say consistently.

3) Take care of yourself and always look your best – Many single people typically take care of themselves while they’re dating and tend to neglect their health (or their sense of style) once they’re in a relationship. And once kids are in the picture, things really go downhill. It’s easy to stop taking care of ourselves once we get busy. However, there’s no excuse to not look after our health (or our appearance), especially since we now have all this information at our fingertips and all these time-saving devices. People these days assume that if we’re not up to date with technology or even matters of style, we may also be out of touch professionally. First (and ongoing) impressions do count, and if we want to be taken seriously, we seriously need to consider how we come across to everyone. Dressing up is a language all its own and requires an understanding of what colors and shapes suit our body types best and what prevailing trends are out there. And just because you’re married doesn’t mean that you should stop caring about how you look.

Photo by Atomic Kitteh

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