Quicksand Problems

There are problems you can make worse, but not better. I call them quicksand problems, because when you’re caught in quicksand, struggling makes it worse.

Examples are hard. Sometimes even talking about them, much less writing about them, is like struggling in quicksand; you just sink faster.

Flickr image by publicenergy

But say you overhear somebody bad-mouthing you. Do you let on? Were you eavesdropping? Does complaining about it make it worse?

Or somebody else hears the conversation and tells you about it. Do you get into one of those “he-said-she-said” mudslinging fights? How do you know who’s telling the truth? Or do you just ignore it?

And then there’s what happens when somebody treats you badly, in business, and you’d like to just forget about it and go on with your relationship. But now they don’t want to see you; you’re a reminder that they acted badly.

We Googled a software package yesterday and found an “I-hate-them” site ranked third in the Google listings. Ouch, that’s got to be painful. The hate site was a private person, using what looks like a real name, and a lot of expletives. What do you do about that? The good news, from the company’s side, was the overuse of expletives, which never does much for credibility; and the hate-site owner was generous enough to allow the company’s comments to stay on the site.

These are tough issues. And I worry, even while posting this, that you’re going to wonder who’s mad at me, or what happened. That comes with the territory; right?

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