How Pushy Is Too Pushy?
The short answer? It depends on the circumstances.
When some people are asked what their biggest weaknesses are, there might be some who say they push too much for what they want and that they are just too stubborn to know when to quit. Does this sound like something you would say, or something you have already said about yourself in the past?
The problem with stubbornness is that it is a very subjective trait. There are some people who have a very low tolerance for stubbornness and might call you out on it at the slightest provocation. Others might be extremely patient and will never tell you that you’re stubborn, even if you have been after them for the last hour straight. These are two very big extremes, but it gives you a sense of the problem. Depending on who you are talking to, you will be both pushy and not at the exact same time.
Herein lies the problem when people self-describe as stubborn or pushy, because it isn’t so black or white. This spectrum of possibility means that it is impossible to pinpoint exactly where you lie except with yourself, and it feels highly unlikely that you’re going to offend yourself with this knowledge.
So far, I have used stubbornness or pushiness to make my point, but truthfully there are a ton of different traits or attributes that feature the exact same problem. It’s usually not productive to stress over these traits because as I mentioned at the beginning of this blog, it all depends on who you are talking to and how you’re understanding the person with whom you are communicating.
When it comes down to it, active listening and understanding goes a long way. If you are able to pin down your partner-in-conversation’s preferences and tolerances, you will have a much better understanding of how to approach a situation. This doesn’t come overnight, and it took a long time for me to acquire this skill, but it is one of the single most important skills I believe a person can possess. Solid communication and understanding can make all the difference when you are looking to get things done, because it will allow you to express your opinions in a logical manner while incorporating the ideas of the people around you.
Communication was a very important skill I wanted to learn, so I ended up getting a job in sales to help bolster that. Four years of speaking with a wide variety of people helped me immensely to understand people and how to work with them, and I attribute much of my success to having that experience. If you are in an appropriate position in your career to do so, I would always recommend a retail / customer-facing position for this reason, as I believe it is one of the best ways to hone this skill.
I continued in a Quality Control position, where I frequently had to deal with customers who were left with situations that were less than ideal, and a good understanding of how to read a client’s tolerances was essential to success. My service desk position after that again made use of this skill, and I would be very surprised if I didn’t continue to use it in every job I occupy in the future.
So to answer the titular question, how pushy is too pushy? The only way to find out is to talk to people and listen, and when in doubt, it’s often best to ease into a conversation rather than going in guns blazing.Follow: