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Handling Shoves - An Incident During An Introduction

I was reading about John's thread and the difficulty of handling aggression when unanticipated.
So I went to recall incidents where I let aggression slipped because I was not prepared for it.

There was one incident 2 years ago that came to mind.
It included physical aggression of shoving with a negative frame.

I was at a networking event organised by a community.
I saw the president of the community and went up to introduce myself and shake hands.

One person at the side apparently was not happy with me introducing myself.
I actually have heard of this guy in this same circles but don't know him well.
He doesn't have any special status in this community.

This is the interaction:

Me: Pleasure to meet you! (Shake hands with president)

Him: (Shoves me roughly & I lunged forward a bit) Wow, looks like he wants to run for president

The frame is not good as well because it puts me at the competition with the president.
However, I was caught by surprise because I was mentally prepared to go for the introduction and talk with the president.
I ignored the aggression & remark and continued conversing with the president like nothing happened.
However, I think that this aggression is too high to be ignored as I may be condoning this behaviour and may be seen as someone who is afraid of standing up.

As such, I am thinking about framing the other guy sarcastically and drawing his out-of-line behaviour out in the open

Me: Pleasure to meet you! (Shake hands with president)

Him: (Shoves me roughly & I lunged forward a bit) Wow, looks like he wants to run for president

Me: (Looks at president and points at him) Seems like somone prefers shoving to shaking hands (sarcastic tone)
Maybe that's what the whole club will do if he becomes president.

Very very out of place, and obviously high in the aggression scale.

A difficult situation to handle as you'd have two goals to attend to:

  1. Draw your boundaries
  2. Keep the interaction with the president from derailing

So getting too dragged into N.1 might have come at a cost on N.2, but still N.1 had to be attended to, and something better than "ignore" could have been done.

For example:

You: (turn around), dude, that's rude and aggressive, please behave yourself and don't do it ever again. (turns to the president) Sorry about that

Notice the good power move of "sorry about that", that frames the aggressor as an uncivil nuisance that you dealt with for both of them, and now you're ready to move on.

Also it was an option to stop at "that's rude and aggressive, please behave yourself", and then you could have found him later on and told me "not to do it ever again".

TWO MORE NOTES:

  1. The president himself should have intervened: a good leader shouldn't let people in his environment be rude and aggressive
  2. It's possible you came across as social climbing by making a beeline for the president (but not sure about this one, wasn't there)
Matthew Whitewood and John Freeman have reacted to this post.
Matthew WhitewoodJohn Freeman
Have you read the forum guidelines for effective communication already?

Thanks man, very useful for future incidents like this!

You: (turn around), dude, that's rude and aggressive, please behave yourself and don't do it ever again. (turns to the president) Sorry about that

Notice the good power move of "sorry about that", that frames the aggressor as an uncivil nuisance that you dealt with for both of them, and now you're ready to move on.

We have used this counter-attack by excluding the value-taker in previous discussions as well.
Draw the line with the value-taker, frames him as a nuisance, and move on with the conversation.

  1. Keep the interaction with the president from derailing

I found managing these 2 priorities challenging with my current skills at that time.
I decided to prioritise the conversation with the president.
We did end up talking for quite a bit, which was good.

  1. The president himself should have intervened: a good leader shouldn't let people in his environment be rude and aggressive

I was a bit surprised that he did not intervene.
He comes across as dominant and assertive.

It's possible you came across as social climbing by making a beeline for the president (but not sure about this one, wasn't there)

I think that I didn't phrase the sentences so well to describe the event and how I approached the president.
The president only came towards the end of the event.
I have already talked to most of the people at the event and had quite enjoyable solid conversations.

For some reason, this person had an adversarial attitude towards me.
I noticed that his friend wanted to social-climb me as well.

There was a smaller incident during that event but not as serious as the shoving.
His friend puts his hand on my shoulder and leaves it there.
Then he proceeds to try to put down one of my business ideas.

To give more context, there is another affiliated community.
They were part of the executive committee of this community around 7 years ago from that time for a year.
And I was part of the executive committee around 3 years ago for a year as well.
Maybe there was some kind of politics that I was not aware of.

Other than these 2 people, I had good conversations with others.

 

Lucio Buffalmano has reacted to this post.
Lucio Buffalmano

Got it.

Sounds like two assholes then, and they had already cast you as the threat/enemy.

Matthew Whitewood has reacted to this post.
Matthew Whitewood
Have you read the forum guidelines for effective communication already?
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