Isn’t it nice to have those people in our lives who simply are what they are?

Once upon a time I had a business meeting and the man, who I’ve been interacting with for almost two years, stated that people are most often one way at work and another way at home. Puzzled, I replied, “But I am the same everywhere.”

Knowing me this length of time he responded, “So you’re goofy all the time?”

Yes, I am. 

I chose not to tell him about the great workplace cartwheel event of 2006 when I was an HR professional. Moving on…

Candidness Counts

A wise woman I knew during college said the same thing as my friend. We were neighbors in an apartment complex. She worked for a major corporation in an executive position, which was progressive for the late 1970s. Her house was a disaster—various projects scattered everywhere, from plants, cooking things, to reading materials. Not dirty, just incredibly active with her many passions. One day I asked her about the disarray and, boldly, what her office looked like. She said, Oh there I am completely different.

She kept the best part of herself—her absolute involvement in the world around her—separate from her work life. What impact could she have made on others at work if she let people see every side of her? She was as straightforward a person as I’ve ever met and yet the mask she wore at work kept some of the best parts of her charming personality hidden.

Growing up WYSIWYG

How altered would the world be if we were each What You See Is What You Get people throughout the various roles we play in life.

I was raised in a family stuffed full of WYSIWYG people. There weren’t/aren’t hidden agendas, ploys, or deceptions. Maybe that’s why “Dallas,”–either version of it—never appealed to me. Do families really act like that? Good heavens!

Of course having a family such as mine can also be detrimental. You wind up trusting people too easily and finding out you shouldn’t. I still over-trust. On top of that, it took many repeated life-lessons for me to realize that I could choose to purge those untrustworthy people from my life. I saw what they were and I didn’t want them.

Friendships & wine

WYSIWYG friends

The Manipulators

I’ve learned to be a bit pickier about who I let into my close friendships. The other day I realized my good friends have the same quality as my family: they are WYSIWYG people. They are what they are. These aren’t manipulators or players or the people I refer to as the Charismatic Vortexers. 

You know the kind of person I mean. If they were religious, they’d be the evangelist preachers who are scamming the tent full of people—there for the money, not the beliefs. Don’t they make you shudder?

Charismatic Vortexers are always energized and vibrant and convince you that he/she believes that whatever they are selling is absolutely the truth and if you don’t buy in—you’re unreasonable! They expand an inordinate amount of energy trying to pull you into whatever scheme they’ve cooked up. When you finally catch on, you realize escaping is your only option.

These manipulators are the people I scrutinize. An email arrives and before whipping off a reply to their elegantly worded enticement, Sure, why wouldn’t I spend my Saturday cleaning your chimney—I pause and ponder:

  • What is the request being made?
  • What is the person’s ulterior motive?
  • If I accept, what further nasty jobs will I be sucked into?

It is draining to deal with less than forthright individuals and yet, we are faced with them. Co-workers, relatives—whomever circumstances keeps us from being able to purge away. But, stuck with them though we may be, we can diminish their impact by realizing who they are and who they aren’t and guarding ourselves against the danger of being sucked into their black holes.

Here’s to the honest people

Which takes me back to the WYSIWYG folks. These are the humans we’re drawn to, whose company we seek, and whose friendship we value. We simply feel at peace being in their presence. 

Over the next week, try this little exercise: 

First, assess your current friendships and see how many of them are in the WYSIWYG group. Lots? Applaud yourself!

Second, as you’re interacting with new people, view them through your new WYSIWYG insight and see if you choose to pursue a relationship with them or let them slip away.

Third, look at the non-WYSIWYGers in your life and decide if you can move away from them—opening up space in your life for those new friends you find so interesting.

Let me know what happens.


Related musing: Do You Make Distinctions Between Sincerity and Seriousness?