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Elder Wisdom Circle

Everyone Behaves This Way With Me!

| Sande Caplin |

Elder Wisdom Circle is a nationwide network of volunteers aged 60-105, who offer caring and personal advice based on their own experiences. They are a nonprofit service, and all advice is free. Please visit them online at

Original Letter

This happens with me. Many aquintances , relatives or collegues behave this way with me……..
They give me advice. They tell me facts that i already know much much before than they do and expect me to get scared. Actually i am very well qualified and well read. I am self made and have achieved quiet a few things in life. It is not with superiority complex that i say that i am much more knowledgeble than the most people i have mentioned above. i want to add one more thing. One of my collegues said that i portray a diffident look. I do not meet people’s eyes she says. In reality , i had never met people’s eyes because of these reasons 1) always lost in thought 2) am a little shy . Please advice as how to make people respect me. I have started meeting people’s eyes and slowly now it has become a habit. Apart from this what else should i do. I am not great at giving a repartee. My refusals or saying of “no” is so undiplomatic that it gives the opposite parties the leverage of being the victim . When in reality i would be, people get away treating me badly , finally assignning the blame on me. How should i change my behaviour and atitude?

Elder Response

Your concern is very understandable.  We all want to be liked and respected, and when we feel that we are not connecting with people, it can be very worrisome. People have such a wide range of personalities. Some people find it easy to connect.  They are the lucky ones. If you are distracted and/or shy, you may have to work a bit harder to relate to people.  But there are things you can do.

First, and this is really important, be aware that many people are just like you. We often see our problems as the only problems. Believe me, most people have their own issues in work or social situations.  You are not alone.

The most meaningful way we can communicate with anyone is to focus out. This means getting past yourself, and that is sometimes very difficult. But if you can do that, you will be amazed to find that the person you are speaking to becomes “real.” You will start to care about that person, and that’s where the connection begins.
Tell yourself that whoever you are speaking to is an amazing person. It’s your job to find out why. Or keep reminding yourself that everybody has family and friends who love them.  Again, it’s your job to see that person who is loved, beneath the outer shell.

Also keep in mind that when you speak to someone, you have no idea what they are going through in their personal life. It’s really terrible what some people have to deal with on a day-to-day basis. Be kind. If someone seems abrasive, it may be because something is happening in their lives that they are having a hard time dealing with.
We can’t make people respect us. But we can live in integrity. We can do our jobs to the best of our ability, and we can live  our lives as honorable, caring individuals to everyone we come in contact with.  That’s where respect is gained. You have that ability.  You can have a huge positive impact on people. Stay open and care about them, rather then worry about what they think of you. Your world will change, and you will change their world.

Best Regards,

Elder ReneeRenee is a Realtor in the Washington, DC area.  She also has a home in Bradenton, FL.  She is married, with three children and five grandchildren. Her website is

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