What to Understand when the “Nicest People You Know” Are Feeling the Heat So You Don’t Get Scorched — and Recognize if This Is You

I remember my first “amiable” boss, Tim.

When the communications agency hired me, everyone told me I would love working with him, because he was such a nice guy.

It’s true: he had some wonderful qualities: patient, helpful, relaxed and encouraging.

Then there was the day I stepped in it.

When I asked Tim, “How do you write an annual report?” he replied, “I can’t tell you. Take this stack of reports home over the weekend, read them, and come in on Monday with any questions.”

That’s what I did (what a fun weekend!).

When we met, Tim asked what I thought. My reply was, “Are annual reports supposed to be filled with puffery and not really say much?”

I remember seeing his lips purse. It turns out he had written all of the reports I’d read and was now offended.

Not that he ever told me that.

He kept his voice measured and calm. I left his office with my head vibrating like a cartoon character who’d just been clocked by a shovel.

I felt demeaned and belittled, but I couldn’t say why. Tim had never raised his voice, unlike most people I’d experienced who were angry. But it wasn’t until I thought of the words he’d used that I saw the disconnect between these and his tone.

Here’s more about amiables and how they react to stress.

It’s true: when we’re feeling the pressure — internal (as with Tim) or external — our positive qualities can move to an extreme. That makes them feel negative to the people around us. For amiables:

  • Patience is perceived as being bland
  • Being relaxed shows up as stubbornness
  • Encouraging others appears as hiding displeasure while getting in some digs

Use the tactics in the video to help amiables avoid reaching the place where their gifts become their evil twins. And if you’re an amiable, notice your stress level and choose to be the person you really want to be known as.

(Want to a refresher on how to work with “drivers” in overdrive? Click here.)