Overcome ‘victim pout’

Don't make yourself a handy target

by on
in Office Management

Some people are the butts of everyone’s jokes. They are the designated punching bags, the meek or gawky folks who seem born to play victim.

You can tell them by the way they carry themselves. They walk with slumped shoulders, looking down and away from others. They seem flustered or fearful. And they rarely assert themselves.

While only the most hapless people act like victims all the time, many of us temporarily adopt the “victim pout” when we’re hurt or unsure of ourselves. Here’s how to avoid looking like a victim—ever.

Initiate contact. Victims are reactive. They speak when spoken to; they follow after others lead.

Break out of that mold by launching conversations and extending a firm handshake. If a team leader asks for volunteers, step forward boldly. If you’re in the audience listening to a prominent speaker, be the first to ask a question.

Laugh off embarrassments. If a practical joker makes you look foolish in front of others, take the lead in enjoying a good laugh. Then redirect the focus away from you by telling anecdotes or changing the subject. You might say, “This reminds me of a time when a coworker was surprised by ...” or “I just hope we can keep laughing by the end of this busy week.”

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