My sister told me a story about an experience her friend Jane had while lining up a bank.
What happened was Jane had been queuing up for quite some time when an elderly man strode in, decided he didn’t like the look of the line and walked straight to the front.
Rather affronted, Jane walked up to the man and tapped him on the shoulder.
“Excuse me, Sir”, she said. “You’re old enough to be my father. Why would you exhibit such bad manners as to ignore all of us and walk to the front?”
The man sneered.
“First of all, I don’t like the way you’ve talked to me. There is no way you could ever be my daughter!”
“Exactly”, Jane agreed. “With manners like yours, there is no way you could ever be my father!”
How classy. I mean, all that poise. I was impressed. I am always envious of people who are able to deal with conflict without a nuclear cloud gathering in the stratosphere.
I’m generally a really happy person (shut up, it’s true). I love people, I love animals and I believe in respect, cordiality and making love, not war. But when I find myself in a situation where I am even slightly irritated (and sadly, this happens a lot) – I don’t know how to follow the appropriate steps of ‘conflict mediation’.
Usually you start by calming yourself down and deciding whether or not this issue is worth losing your head about. Most people will behave elegantly like Jane or let the matter be. Drunkards will use their fists.
One minute I shall be smiling and the next, my heart shall palpitate, I shall exhale loudly through my nostrils, and I will squint my eyes like Clint Eastwood in…all his movies actually.
In a matter of seconds, I immediately transform into a screaming, raving, foot stomping, wild eyed she-devil. I shall usually feel bad about this later but as the guilt over my temper piled up over the years, and became too hard a burden to shoulder, I learned to come to terms with my deficiencies. I apologize in advance if I degenerate emotionally in front of you.
Call me later. I’ll say sorry!