People have a perception of what a good manager is and what good management styles look like. We also all seem to have an impression of what asshole managers at work are like as well. Always looking over your shoulder. Sweating you about taking a 35 minute lunch. Eager to throw you under the bus to superiors and hesitant to tell you that you have done good work. But even with all of those draw backs to having a manager at work, just about every job needs one to run efficiently and properly. It keeps you from slacking off. Coming in egregiously late and talking on the phone all day is cut back when you have to worry about someone creeping around a corner to catch you doing something inappropriate. So the position, as much as we hate to admit it, does have some merit. And just like work relationships, personal relationships need a certain degree of management as well. But the kick ass and take names sort of technique doesn’t work as well when you are in a relationship that consists of two people who are loving partners as oppose to the asshole boss/super cool employee dynamic.
I think that in every relationship that I have been in I have quietly played my role as a silent manager. Sometimes successfully and other times not so much. I originally thought that the best way to play my role was to simply let her do whatever she wants and just tolerate it until I could not tolerate it anymore. That arguing over simple stuff like where we hang out or how much I did or did not call was ultimately not important enough to create any tension in my relationship. And initially that sort of mindset worked for me. Still does in many ways. But as I got older I started to actually need things from the women I dated. So it was no longer good enough to just put up with stuff. So I began to coerce and massage the direction of the relationships. I started to guide things in the direction that I wanted them to go. But the key was to never make a woman feel as though I was telling her what to do, controlling her or dominating her in any way. I have always liked strong-willed women so none of the would ever go for that. But it was still rewarding for me to sort of control her direction without letting her know that she was being controlled. And as evil, sick or deranged as this sounds it is not as bad as you think. I’m referring to simple things like…..letting her do whatever makes her happy all week in anticipation of leveraging my flexibility into getting her to do what I want her to do on the weekend. Simple stuff like that. Or being extra accommodating to her friends because I know that she may not particularly like one of my friends. This way I can illustrate the compromises that I am willing to make for her so she will in turn do the same for me. Stuff like that alleviates the need to have an overly serious conversation about my friends and compromise. I very vividly mirror the behavior that I want her to take on. Simple! And while I have at times felt a certain level of hubris in my relationship accomplishments, I have felt a greater sense of comfort in recognizing that a woman is “managing ” me.
It says that a woman cares more about making things work than about her own personal druthers when she thinks enough to manage me. Not telling me that her father didn’t approve of something that I have done because nothing good can come out of me knowing that. Not sharing with me that her girlfriend had a wise crack about me being a grown man and still wearing Air Jordan’s…because for me to know that would only create a little resentment between the two people that she values the most in her life. Getting beyond the fact that I don’t check my mail everyday because something as trivial as that is not worth getting critical over. Telling me how nice I look when I come home from the gym because she would be mildly annoyed if I ever got to the point where my belly was hanging over my belt and blocking my view of the aforementioned Air Jordans! All of this is managing. Working with, coercing and supporting someone to get the desired outcome from them. Happiness!
Too often we see couples who don’t have a natural filter with their significant others. They tell them exactly how much they hate their hair in the sink. How much he is disgusted by her underwear hanging on the shower rod. How annoyed she is when you tell her friends that same stupid joke about how she farted in her sleep. And what a good manager does is picks and chooses what things you want to make a big deal about. Because at the end of the day none of us are perfect and if we make a mountain out of the small stuff every single day of our lives people will get tired of your complaining. I am all for honesty. But the real honesty should also consist of you acknowledging that you may not be the easiest to deal with your damn self instead of always throwing your special someone under the bus about the things that you or other people don’t like about them. Everything isn’t worth complaining about. Sometimes the role of a good manager is to take weight of criticisms off the employee……all for the purpose of improving production. And that production being Happiness.