Do you know someone who is always on top of their game? They seem to be able to multi-task no matter what is going on, they have stuff ready for you without you even asking, or their feathers rarely ruffle?? Sounds like you know a perfectionist.
Perfectionists can’t really help themselves when it comes to doing all of the things. Their day is never really finished, even if the latest project is, because they’ve got three more lined up. It may seem like they have it all together, all of the time, however, you are not seeing the insane amount of pressure this person is putting on themselves.
Perfectionism may be nice for an employer, and annoying for the friend that can’t keep up, but it is a struggle for the person living it. Imagine having a list of things you need to get done, and will get done, but that list can never be completed. And I mean never, not as long as you are still a perfectionist. As soon as you are almost ready to check one thing off, you are already adding the next thing, if not more, to do.
For the most part, this works out well for everyone involved. Shit’s getting taken care of. Problems are being solved. Before long, people stop asking this person if they are going to do things because it’s just expected. People stop checking in on this person to see if they are okay and handling their list, because they are always okay. The words “thank you” are no longer said when they do something for someone. Things start getting added to their list from everyone around them, and not attached to the word “please”, because they are dependable and “they can handle it.”
Well, let me tell you friends, one day they won’t be able to handleall of the things, and you’re going to wonder what the F happened. You are going to look at them with a look of disappointment that you are not used to looking at them with. They are going to look at you with a look that you are not used to seeing from them, and will probably take the wrong way. The situation is going to spiral downward rather quickly. But, before you freak out on them, just realize that the look they are giving you, which you may see as something negative towards yourself, is actually a look of embarrassment, fear, frustration, failure, and stress to the max all rolled into one. (All self-inflicted wounds, but wounds none the less.)
No one can be harder on a perfectionist than themselves. You may be frustrated with them for overlooking some detail in something, or forgetting to pick something up, but they are beating themselves up over it. I mean full on boxing match against themselves, in their brain. They’re just replaying the mistake over and over, each time really laying into themselves about how they have failed and why they shouldn’t have done that.
So, if you have a perfectionist friend, who may or may not be obnoxiously amazing, try to be gentle with them on their off days. Offer help, though you know they most likely won’t take it – it’s the thought that counts for them. No need to harp on the mishaps, they get it. Besides, knowing them, they’ll probably be more productive tomorrow trying to make up for it.