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Thursday, August 27, 2009

Dealing With Conflict

With this recent preschool situation, I've become even more aware of the fact that I really need to learn to deal with conflict.

I've never been good at it. I would love to be one of those people that feels comfortable speaking their mind.

I just can't.

I'm too afraid of hurting someone's feelings... or looking stupid.

I've always been in awe of those people that just don't care. You know those people that have this sense of ease and confidence in expressing themselves... even when they are completely wrong.

My husband is like this. Actually, his entire family is like this. You know those times when people at the airport tick you off or a server is really rude, and you just want to tell them off but don't? Well, they do it. They say what you're thinking, and they don't hold back. It's really quite amazing to watch. I have to say, though, at times it can be a little embarrassing. My husband has turned to me a few times and said, "Alright. You may want to walk away, because I'm getting ready to lay into this person, and you probably don't want to see it."

I usually take his advice and leave. Although, I will have to see that being nice to people, even when they don't deserve it, can be a good thing. There have been several times when my husband has been in awe of me being able to diffuse a bad situation by just using an even tone and a smile. It can be very hard to do, but I have had some experience. Not only do I seem genetically prone to avoid a fight if at all possible, but I did work for the government for five years dealing with some absolute idiots both outside and inside the agency.

There are times, though, when niceness can't or won't sink in, and I've to stand up for myself. When that time comes, it can get ugly. I once had a friend tell me that I was one of the nicest people she knew until I was backed into a corner and felt I had to fight my way out. Even though that person I laid into deserved it, she said that she actually felt some pity for him, because I apparently unleashed some inner demon that she (or I) never knew existed. I guess I shocked both of us.

So, that's the whole problem. I'm either annoyingly nice or scary mean. How do you learn to achieve that perfect balance of feeling that you've properly addressed a problem and stood up for your rights while reigning it in and keeping your cool?

I have absolutely no idea, but I would seriously love to learn that.

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