For those of you who really know me on a personal level, you’d know that there are times when I’m not above joining the petty bus. There are times when I just have to let people know about themselves and for me, this stems from years of not telling people about themselves (see post on passive-aggressiveness).
However, these days, I’ve become very intentional about where I place my energy. I’ve become strategic about the battles that I pick and for the most part, I don’t have battles to pick. But the days where I feel like being the most petty are the days I just learn how to swallow it and keep it stepping. Can anyone else relate?
But more recently, I’ve found myself in the middle of a “I don’t like what you said to me, so I’m not going to talk to you for a few days” situation (not the first time) and I’ve been trying to figure out how to gauge it. Should I board the petty bus and feed into it by removing myself from the text group? But then I thought, perhaps that would probably make an already childish situation worst and then I’d share some responsibility in that. So I decided to ignore it…it as in the situation and carry on with my usual routine. Texting everyone in the text group even if I only got one response back. But then I thought…why are people like that? Why is that the first go to when responding to conflict? To just shut people out and be rude about it. For me, that speaks volumes when it comes to the types of relationships or friendships people have with each other. If I consider you a sister or a dear friends, I’m not going to shut you out like you don’t exist because of a brief disagreement because I’m 26, not 13.
I realized that for people who are so used to dishing out “tough love” and telling people about themselves, it’s hard to receive it in return…so when someone does speak up about how they’re feeling and for example, tell someone to stop ragging on them, it’s not well received because they’re a disher, not a taker.
I found it ironic that I’m also in the middle of creating a life skills workbook for teen girls where the first chapter is effective communication and conflict resolution because in my opinion, that is a life skill that everyone should have. I mean think about it…we spend a total of 11…some of us 16…others more years in school learning how to communicate. We learn how to communicate and how to receive communication. Speak up when something is bothering you. Speak up when you like something. Speak up when you’re uncomfortable. Speak up if that’s not the way things should be. Speak up. But all some of us do is “speak up” which leaves less room for listening. So I’ve decided that conflict resolution IS a great life skill to have that has nothing to do with a person’s age, but their maturity levels and since I blog about my own experiences, I’ve decided to make this a bloggable moment for the dishers who can’t take.
Remember Why You’re Friends
I think this is the first important thing to remember when resolving conflict with a friend…or with anyone period because it will also determine how you think about your responses to them. If they’re someone you can just drop off the face of your Earth and forget about then re-evaluate that friendship because real friends don’t treat each other that way or start thinking about some alternative…and possible more mature ways to deal with conflict rather than going ghost. Remember that effective communication helps with effective problem solving. If the communication isn’t effective neither will the problem solving. So say how you feel and say what you mean.
It sounds so elementary, but take turns sharing “I” messages. I mean, come on, you’re grown it shouldn’t be that difficult. Think before speaking. Know exactly what message you want to convey. Make sure your friend has your full attention and understands your meaning. Stay focused on the matter at hand. Be clear and precise. Listen to yourself speak. Be aware of your body movement, voice inflection, facial expressions and other nonverbal cues (can’t believe I just did this workshop with teen girls). Remember a huge part of effective communication is also active listening. You’ve said your piece, so now it’s the other person’s turn. Listen AND hear.
When listening, pay attention to what your friend is saying and acknowledge your interest and understanding in what they are saying. Listen for what’s behind the words—like feelings and ideas. Do not interrupt, get angry or judge because more than likely their feelings are a response to something you’ve dished out.
Recognize when you are becoming defensive or too emotional and simply chill. That’s it…just chill the hell out. Also if someone expresses to you that they didn’t appreciate something you said or did because it made them feel a certain type of way, but you can’t respect or accept that…don’t be a petty betty, just stop dishing what you can’t accept in return.
All in all, we gotta do better with our sisterhood. It’s human to get mad, be happy, be sad, fear something, but it’s not okay to treat people anyway you feel is necessary without acknowledging how THEY feel in return.