Why People Treat You The Way They Do

Do you know what one of the biggest causes of frustration and unhappiness in the world is?

The Golden Rule

Yep, THE Golden Rule: Do unto others as you would have them do unto you. In other words, treat other people the way you’d like to be treated.

The problem is that we say it that way, but here’s what we really believe:

If I treat people the way I would like to be treated, they will treat me the same way in return.

Here comes a “Dr. Phil moment”: how’s that workin’ for ya?

I’m going to cut right to the chase:

People don’t treat you the way they should. People treat you the way you train them to treat you.

Put this theory to the test with these questions:
  • If you’re always waiting on other people, is it because they have a good reason to be late or because you never move on without them?
  • If people always reschedule (or blow off) meetings with you, is it because something truly more important came up for them or because you always make yourself available, no matter what?
  • If people are always disrespectful to you, is it because they are just jerks or because you take the disrespect without ever confronting them about it?
  • If people always ask you to work unreasonable hours, is it because that’s really what’s required or because you simply give up your life and never say anything about it.
  • If people always borrow your stuff without asking, is it because they have no boundaries or because you don’t communicate your boundaries (or haven’t locked up your stuff)?
  • If people don’t ever deliver up to your expectations is it because they’re lazy and/or not capable, or because you don’t clearly state what your expectations are?

I’ll repeat: people treat you the way you train them to treat you. And sometimes — quite often, actually — people learn how they can treat you simply because you allow the treatment. And as long as you allow the treatment, it will continue.

Let me ask you a powerful question: Who is in control of your time? 

You are. Nobody else. Not your boss, not your friends, not your creditors, not your spouse, not your kids, not the government. YOU are 100% in control of your time and I’ll prove it to you.

If your boss said he needed you to work this weekend and you were really looking forward to your son’s basketball game, would you say yes to your boss? 

BUT, what if your father was on his deathbed this weekend, would you still say yes?

What’s the difference? 

That was a trick question. THERE IS NO DIFFERENCE. YOU make the choice in BOTH SCENARIOS. YOU control your time, your energy, your money, your resources, your LIFE. 

You might be thinking, “Well, the circumstances are very different in those two scenarios.” 

We use circumstances as an excuse way too often. If the circumstance is “serious” enough, we’ll finally say no. But if it’s only our son’s basketball game? Well, then I guess I could work if you really need me to.

So we work…and grumble…and wonder why people treat us so differently than we would ever consider treating them.

Now you know why. Because people treat us the way we train them to.

The next time you feel that someone doesn’t treat you “fairly”, take a good look at yourself and see if, perhaps, you’ve trained them to treat you that way.

Agree? Disagree? Got a story to tell? Leave a comment. It’s all good. And feel free to share this with others. Might make a great team discussion, don’t you think?


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