Socializing with the Antisocial
Have an anti-social boss, co-worker, friend, or family member on your hands?
Many nuances of this complex social situation fall beyond your zone of control, but while you can never make someone change their behavior, you can handle their behavior in ways that mitigate some of the negatives.
It’s time to step into the shoes of your favorite salesperson. Door-to-door, car, IT services, or small appliances — take your pick. The important part is cultivating the mindset of someone expecting to hear “no,” but who also has a plan for getting to “yes.”
Sales tactic: Lead with the benefits.
Pivot for anti-sociability: “When handling difficult people,” write Bloggers for the Program on Negotiation for Harvard Law School, “effective negotiation and conflict-resolving strategies can include highlighting what they personally stand to gain from behaving more collaboratively.”
Even if the benefits of something (happy hour = fun, for example) seem obvious to you, pretend that you’re describing mysterious product features they never knew they wanted.
Sales tactic: Be firm but never aggressive.
Pivot for anti-sociability: You must exert enough force to let the anti-social person know you have an idea worth listening to.
An antisocial person could see an overly permissive stance as an opportunity to manipulate the situation to get something else they want, but they could see an overly firm stance as a threat and respond accordingly (unproductively).
Striking a fine balance is key.
Sales tactic: The customer is always right.
Pivot for anti-sociability: No matter what you hope to get out of your interaction with the anti-social person, you have to anticipate what they need and want, and put those needs and wants before your own.
Check in with yourself throughout the interaction, constantly reframing your approach with empathy for the person’s needs, wants, and even personality.