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Who Is Your Gift?

I work with a couple of people who despise each other—I mean really despise each other. They would both be far happier if their responsibilities did not require them to interact on a fairly regular basis, but that is not always an option and this reality makes them both miserable and uncomfortable.

Over the years, I have observed them each making concerted efforts to minimize opportunities to work together and even avoid being in the same room.

Because their silent feud is so painfully obvious, only one at a time is ever invited to participate in a given project or serve on a committee. The word on the street is that one is good, but two is bad. Getting them together will be painful for everyone and should be avoided whenever possible.

I find my colleagues’ disdain for one another fascinating given all they have in common. For example, one is highly intelligent, incredibly opinionated, painfully direct, and never reluctant to criticize others. The other is highly intelligent, incredibly opinionated, painfully direct, and never reluctant to criticize others. In other words, they are two versions of the same person, and they despise the traits for which they are both known.

During my more philosophical moments, I speculate that they are each other’s gift. I tell myself they were brought together to teach each other to be less caustic and more open-minded. As I watch them snark at each other, I often reflect upon the people who make me crazy and what I am meant to learn from them.

If I am completely honest, I have to admit that the people who tend to get under my skin most are the ones who do things that I do. Recognizing this, I have worked hard to be less sarcastic, more patient, and far quieter than feels comfortable.

Who are your “gifts,” and what are they trying to teach you?

[Creative Commons-licensed photo by Flickr user FutUndBeidl.]

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