If You Have to Tell People…

Hand marbleized papers – words by Margaret Thatcher

I have a friend who works for one of the major airlines. She encounters people at their best and at their worst. One troubled man who was trying to get on a flight, who thought he deserved something more than the other passengers, and who was very antagonizing looked her in the eyes and said, “Do you know who I am?” She told me I might be surprised how many times people ask her that question.

Anyone who has to tell people about their talent, their power, their accomplishments finds themselves more important than other people find them. You know who I mean, the person who has to remind you of their past stories and events at every chance. The person who turns the conversation to themselves at every turn, or the person who cannot resist the urge to make everything about them is the person that people eventually stop wanting to see.

This quote from Margaret Thatcher reminds us of this universal truth. If you have to tell people you are, then you aren’t. I learned a long time ago that a great conversationalist is someone who listens more than they talk. If you ask the right questions you will be amazed at what people will tell you. It means letting go of being the center of attention and letting your actions speak louder than your words.

My friend from the airlines told me how she dealt with the particularly antagonizing man. She looked him straight in the eye, grabbed the microphone and asked the nearby passengers, “Does anyone know who this man is? He seems to have forgotten.” The angry man got so frustrated he walked away while the nearby passengers applauded her efforts. No one likes a blow hard, especially when they feel the need to remind you of their status and importance. If you have to tell people you are a lady, then you aren’t. Great words to ponder from a woman who never needed to remind people of anything about her accomplishments.

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