I’ve worked with people for most of my adult life. I’ve held many roles in the service industry – from waitress, to gym supervisor, to coffee shop manager.
Thus, I’ve uttered the phrase “I hate people” many times.
Many. Many. Times.
It’s hard to be around people all day. Some people are nice, but some people are downright unpleasant. Some people can ruin your mood with just a few harsh words.
And to be honest, it gets old. No matter how much of an optimist you are, everyone has their breaking point. That place where the good starts to become blurred with the bad, and everyone just seems the same.
So, I came to believe I hated people. I decided that I simply wasn’t meant for a people-oriented, service role. Maybe life would be easier if I was behind a desk all day, after all.
But when faced with administrative work, company policies, and never-ending task lists, I hit a wall. I couldn’t bring myself to be productive. I got distracted.
I filled my precious time with other tasks – ones that centered around my employees. I toiled over assigning breaks, or shifting my staff around to make nobody was stuck in the same position for hours on end. I created a forum for employees to compliment and encourage each other. I even skipped my breaks to lighten the work load on my hard-working, but exhausted team members.
In all the chaos, the worry, and stressful shifts, I rarely accomplished my administrative tasks to what I believed was my full potential. I couldn’t quite accomplish everything – and frankly, I didn’t really care.
Because I didn’t believe that the administrative work was important.
Sure, emails need to be answered. Maintenance logs need to be filled out. But to me, all that is just busywork. What mattered more to me was the well-being of my staff members.
To put it simply: I cared about the people.
And when I realized this, it changed my perspective on everything.
Being a people person doesn’t have to mean being a social butterfly. It doesn’t have to mean being comfortable networking with strangers, or even being 100% peppy and polite 100% of the time.
Being a people person means caring for others.
In any situation, it is vital to treat your peers with respect and patience. People are what make the difference. In work, they are on the front lines of the company; they make the products and provide the service. In school, they are your teammates and can be an invaluable resource for information. In life, they can lie you up when you need support, and can expose you to ideas and places that you would never have dreamed of on your own.
Understanding this, and caring for the people in your life – that’s what makes a people person. And if you’re a people person like me, I’d be willing to bet the people in your life are thankful to have you around.