I approached him in the mix of the crowd without caution, despite being aware that others were avoiding him.

I offered him my sincere compliments, then asked the obvious questions, got the somewhat negative perspectives I was expecting, filed his judgments under “that-has-merit and “I get that,” and thus and so and nevertheless — plus therefore —  the conversation went well.

With her, she approached me — as she almost always does — with a fresh complaint. I fielded it, commented on what I could do, suggested that she take some responsibility to solve the problem, noted that she didn’t pick up on that, again repeated what I would do, and thus and therefore and nonetheless, plus a bit of however, we parted. She was smiling.

People — what to do with them?

Well, you love them, but one other thing too. You approach them, talk to them, engage them with no need to get anything from them. I don’t mean the people on our everyday teams, the people we supervise, the family who supports us. Of course we have increased expectation of our close ones; of course we need them; of course there can be conflicts when they don’t come through.

But people at large, acquaintances, new folks, the people in our outer circles, those we serve, those we help, those who look to us for something — they are perhaps best engaged in a preplanned way, with us deciding ahead of time that we are full, that we are okay, and that because our tanks are full, we can and we are going to listen to and affirm them. If we have no need of their compliments nor any defensiveness about their criticisms, we can be smooth with them.

It’s this: get full. Get okay with yourself. Do this by assiduously loving yourself. Figure out how to fill your own tank, and fuel up.

This matters, because when we don’t need someone to fill our tanks, to affirm our existences, to justify our beings, then we are free to let them be and say and feel what ever it is that is in them. With no personal agendas of our own, we can field other people’s agendas somewhat objectively, remain fairly untriggered by their comments and perhaps do them the most amount of good.

Want to be smooth with people, and better with your precious ones too?

Be smooth — that is okay — with yourself.

Personally smoothed?

It’s relationally smooth.

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