This one is a little embarrassing to share. But worse for the other guy.
Years ago, I was meeting with a potential client over lunch at a Perkins Restaurant. This was a guy I met with a few times, but never did much business.
I don’t know what I ordered, but I know for sure what he ordered. A salad, probably Caesar. As we were sitting there eating and chatting, I noticed he had a pretty healthy sized dark green chive on his front tooth. Nice. What to do. Well, I figured that I’d just keep the conversation going and hope that little sucker disappeared.
What actually happened was that it kind of rotated around that tooth between his talking and chewing, but never actually left. It just hung on, kind of taunting me. Challenging me to call it out.
I went to the restroom. The hope was that he’d keep eating and eventually flush Mr. Chive out. As I was headed back, I was praying that it would be gone. But if not, I was desperately trying to decide whether or not to tell him.
I sat down. And there it was, full circle from its last post. Yeesh. It was clearly determined.
I should tell him. Man, I don’t want to.
I didn’t. This was 15 years ago. It’s probably still there.
My friend used to say, “If had something in my nose, you’d tell me, right?” My wife says, “You’d have my back, right?” I do.
If it was a closer friend or a family member, I think I’d talk. Probably should have in the latter case as well. Mostly, it’s me. I don’t want to feel embarrassed by something that’s likely embarrassing to him. Kind of self-centered on my part.
What are we not telling people that they need to hear? What if that guy had a huge client presentation after our lunch meeting? Yikes, I’ve never really considered that. But I have been better about feedback since then. Any kind of feedback – the gross ones like this example, and the more important ones about relationships, commitment, integrity and habits. It’s part of what I do. I’m also more receptive to hearing it. Assuming it’s from a trusted source, feedback provides an opportunity to grow through our blind spots.
How about you? Would you have called out the rotating chive? Do you need to be more forthright with others and more receptive to good feedback for yourself?