„Boorishness” is variously defined, and one doesn’t really always know what is meant when someone says so-and-so is a „boor”. So I have to define this term right at the start. The learned the definition I use in preschool! I’m sure you know it.
What is a boor?
Books about boors can even be found throughout the history of literature 😉
In preschool and elementary school, a „boor” was one who did not want to share what he had with others. Did you get a bag of crisps? Woe unto you when you open it, because then everybody’s asking for one, and if you don’t hand out your crisps… well then you’re a „boor”, and you start hearing about how many times you received something yourself. Of course, the „boor exclusion principle” only worked among friends, you didn’t have to give crisps to a stranger. Well… unless he was stronger than you… 🙂
I will use the word „boor” in this meaning, as a term for someone who does not wish to share what they have among their friends or repay other people for favors.
Yes, „boors” also exist in the world of business (this world is generally identical to a preschool, a subject I have already written about once), and, as you network, you have to identify them… and deal with them!
How to identify a boor?
First of all, a boor fitting this definition does not listen to what you are saying to him. As a rule, he only waits until his turn to speak, so that he can tell you – usually incoherently, because a boor is a poor networker by definition, although there are some boors that are well versed in this art, so watch out! – about himself, his company and how you can help him. We generally sense when somebody is not listening, so I won’t go into how to identify the signs.
Secondly – if you already helped a boor several times and you yourself have a specific need, a typical boor will usually brush you aside with a typical: „OK, I’ll let you know if I hear anything”. You should interpret such a message as: „Get lost, I don’t need you know, so you can kiss my derriere”. A good networker will tell you if they cannot help and give you reasons why. What’s more – they will also ask for a meeting so that they can learn more about you and increase the chances that they will be able to help you!
The third indicator? A boor never smiles sincerely when he sees you 🙂 At the most, he forces a smile like a mosquito on its way to its next warm-blooded meal.
I myself have met several semi-boors, or at least quarter-boors (there is the matter of the self-awareness of such an attitude, but that’s a subject for another post) 🙂 For example, I have a friend whom I like, but he generally only gets in touch with me when he’s looking for work. I even made efforts to help my friend out several times, but I have since stopped trying. When I needed help, even though he was working for a company that could have become my customer… somehow thing’s just didn’t pan out. Of course – it’s nothing personal, it’s business. We still like one another. At least I like him.
Sometimes it’s just not possible to do business together!
There are situations in which two people cannot help one another despite their sincere intentions and abilities (because, despite appearances, asking for help and helping are not trivial matters!). There can be a multitude of reasons for this – mainly the nature of one’s market, company, or personality-related reasons. In such cases, a commission is usually offered – „Listen, I have no way to thank you for that contract you helped me get. Let me give you a commission, get an invoice ready.” – this is completely natural and is not at odds with the idea of networking. The desire to help motivates the person who is helping you, not a commission, although it may be given as a side effect.
What to do with a boor?
After diagnosing boorishness and confirming it with an independent source, just leave the boor along. Before the war, you might have written a card reading „I’m breaking it off with you”, but today, you don’t have to play around like this, although it is worth expressing your dissatisfaction or disappointment. Maybe this will be the beginning of a change? Give him a chance. If he doesn’t take it – your conscience is clear.
What about other boors?
Of course, boors in the more classical sense also occur in nature, but I’ll write about them some other time, when I get in the mood for a sermon on savoir vivre.