Tuesday, June 12, 2012
Stress and The Argument: Rule #3
I was in Starbucks tonight. They have a new coffee flavor/roast out, the name of which I do not recall. I asked the barista how the new roast tasted, and he described it as light and blonde. I don't particularly like lighter coffees. I'm more of a bold coffee girl. I say, "Nah, I'll take the Pike's roast." He proceeds to pour me a cup of the new roast. When he turns around, I say, "I'm sorry, but I wanted the Pike's roast." He rolls his eyes at me, turns around, pours out that coffee, and pours the right one in. Kevin was with me, so I asked him, "did I not say that right?" Kevin told me he heard Pike's the first time. Obviously, the barista did not, EVEN THOUGH those were the words that came out of my mouth. How often does this happen? We say exactly what we mean to say, word for word, and the person hearing us interprets them with an entirely different meaning? ALL THE TIME!! And, how often does this result into an argument? More often than we would like. It is unfortunate that nobody is immune to this communication gaff. To me, an argument is one of the most stressful things I can be a part of. It drains me of so much energy, mentally and emotionally. Both parties are usually feeling frustrated and upset, both parties are usually trying vehemently to make their point over the other, and both parties are usually getting nowhere fast. How can this happen when intentions were in the right place? How can this happen when I know the person I'm talking to very well, and the fact that I'm arguing with this person is more insane than the actual argument? How can they not understand what I'm trying to say, when I couldn't be more clear? The answer...who in the world knows! At some point though, in order to move on, someone has got to give. Someone has to suck it up and cede the argument, and that someone should be you! Even if I'm right, and they clearly just don't get it?? (Insert deep breath) Yes, even if you're right. These things can go on for days, and for what reason? At what cost? Maybe they are having a bad day. Maybe you are having a bad day. Maybe, walking away revisiting it will fix it. How much stress can be avoided by taking a step back, taking responsibility for your part in the argument, and seeking to restore the relationship? LOTS! And there you have Rule #3: When arguing, take a step back, take responsibility for your part, and seek to restore the relationship. This rule is special, because there is a 3a. If you end up not being the person that takes the first step back (hey, it happens), and the other person begins to apologize, calm down enough to listen. An apology is taking responsibility for their part. Listen to them! I would venture to guess that nobody likes arguing (well, I have this ex-boyfriend that loved a good verbal sparring match...some people are weird!). I know we can't live in peace with all people all the time, but we should make every effort to do the best we can. So with that, may your arguments last a short time, and your relationships last forever.