Definition: Non-Complimentary behaviour basically means you behave in the opposite way to the way the other person is behaving.
Task: Think of a time that you were faced with someone who was either really angry or arrogant towards you. How did that make you feel? Did you react to the person? Did you treat them the way they were treating you or did you treat them differently?
I first heard about Non-Complimentary behaviour while listening to an excellent podcast series called Invisibilia. This particular podcast was called “flipping the script”. What happened was this family in America were having a barbecue one evening and there were a few of them there. This guy walks in holding a gun and he holds them at gun point. Everybody has frozen at this point but naturally, internally they must have been freaking out. There is one man in particular, that he is pointing the gun at and this man offers the guy with the gun a glass of wine. The guy with the gun accepts and they sit down. He asks if he could have some food also and puts his gun to the side. They end up chatting and the guy with the gun tells the other guy about this really tough life he is living and how he feels driven to madness. When the guy with the gun gets up to go, he asks the other guy for a hug, he obliges and the man with the gun bursts into tears and thanks him profusely for showing him such kindness. He walks out the gate and they never saw him again. So the moral here is that when somebody is treating you in not a very nice way, when you treat them the opposite way, it stops them in their tracks and diffuses the situation!
As human beings we are naturally empathetic and mirror each other. Take yawning for example, even if the dog yawns it sets me off yawning. Apparently if someone doesn’t yawn after you yawn it means they lack empathy.
Why people behave badly
Hurt people hurt people and if you understand this you are giving yourself and others a great gift. When you can see that somebody’s outward behaviour may not be a reflection of what that person is really like, then it makes it so much easier to forgive them and not dwell on that experience. Holding anger towards another person and dwelling on things like that only do damage to you not the other person.
If you can see past somebodies awful behaviour, it is a gift to yourself because you will no longer torture yourself with thoughts of why a person would treat you that way or what did you do to deserve that treatment.
It is also a great learning opportunity because if you have slipped into the pattern of being controlled by your ego. If you are taking somebody’s behaviour personally, you can be sure your ego is in control of you and this is a great opportunity to question that and build on your self-awareness.
The truth is, the way a person treats you says a lot more about them than it does about you. But a brilliant way to avoid all this and diffuse a situation is that you could use non-complimentary behaviour.
Tips for using Non-Complimentary behaviour
Non-complimentary behaviour is appropriate to use in most situations where someone is being negative towards you.
Be mindful of a situation and person and how you are feeling towards them.
If someone is treating you in a negative way, just remind yourself, this person must really be hurting inside. Try to see past their outward behaviour, that is something that can be addressed at another time. Treat them with patience, kindness and respect. Maybe do something nice for them. What harm could it really do? If it doesn’t work then at least you know tried and you are not hurting yourself by holding onto any anger or resentment.
Here’s an even bigger challenge! Try treating yourself with non-complimentary behaviour! If you are constantly judging or berating yourself, try treating yourself with patience, kindness and respect. Don’t berate yourself if you make a mistake and most of all try not to judge yourself.