Amiability: Friendly but Firm

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Amiable, Not Malleable

How we discover and develop relationships depends on many factors, not the least of which is our personality. This is true in both our professional and personal lives. We gain reputation and recognition dependent on our disposition, whether we’re consistently amiable or analytical, whether we’re controlling or easygoing.

Each personality dimension, as identified by the SurePeople Prism®, features unique strengths and vulnerabilities. While it may be easy to determine potential shortcomings if we’re controlling or overly analytical individuals, a more subtle vulnerability may lurk within those of a habitually friendly nature. Amiable people tend to be loyal, steady, and unwaveringly agreeable. They are people pleasers, often willing to hold their tongue and succumb to the status quo rather than challenge it.

The reluctance to address conflict and risk upsetting others may cause Amiable individuals to withdraw and shrink into themselves. Yet, in both personal and professional settings, conflict must be addressed lest it become internalized, left to fester like a septic wound harming our home lives and work lives.

Learning how to avoid avoiding conflict is crucial not just for individual well-being but mutual well-being as delineated in this TED Talk by psychologist Dave Thornsen. While willingness to compromise on wants or needs is sometimes necessary, defaulting to compromise instead of collaborating for better outcomes results in a gradual loss of self and the inadvertent rise of toxic positivity.

Avoiding conflict not only harms our own interests but, as explained in this Radical Candor podcast, the interests of the very people we mean to help. The result is ruinous empathy, a feedback loop of insincerity and falsehoods occasionally observable in both our work teams and social circles. When we refrain from honesty for the sake of outward positivity, we distort reality for ourselves and others, perpetuating the acceptance of unproductive inaccuracies.

Admittedly, honesty can sometimes be ill-received, especially when seen as an affront or dissent. It is then no wonder why many people defer to avoidance over dissonance, seeking safety in silence. Amiable people, after all, tend to prioritize likeability. Yet, as Amy Gallo of Harvard Business Review expresses in this video, likeability shouldn’t come at the cost of well-being.

Ultimately, no one will know our thoughts or needs unless we are willing to express them. There are times for amiability, but there are also times for authenticity. Honesty may be daunting, but it’s the most crucial ingredient to any relationship. After all, every successful relationship, whether it’s at home or at work, is built on trust.

Only when others trust us to be clear with them and we trust them to be candid with us can everyone truly achieve better, more fulfilling relationships.

“What is the source of our first suffering? It lies in the fact that we hesitated to speak. It was born in the moment when we accumulated silent things within us.”
– Gaton Bachelard

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