If you have been around for long time—or maybe you need only pay attention to your interactions with people—you may have noticed how people have a tendency to be more prepared to respond than to listen fully and with intent.
It may be a seemingly innocuous question. You may even think you are making a funny. But sometimes your question or quip offends. It could be because the other person is under stress. Or they could simply feel bad for some reason or another. Maybe you are exuding an attitude that is imperceptible only to you.
Whatever the reason you are now in the fire, it may be burning embers or a bonfire that seems like 1255.372 degrees kelvin. What do you do? Is it more important to be kind than right? Is it even possible to show kindness when the other is busy sharing their litany of wounds they have endured presumably at your hand?
Best answer; it depends. Sometimes we have defense mechanisms that prevent us from objectively looking at an interaction. Worst still once we get elevated executive functioning ceases. We are stuck in fight or flight. Can you maintain your balance and be the bigger person? Or do you follow in kind to that primal state of being?
I have noticed at times my efforts to be transparent and honest fail to reach the target because my honestly has inadvertently offended. A whirlwind goes through our minds when we think we have been accused or assigned blame. Worse still, we feel guilt or shame. This is when many of us stand our ground and defend our position…even if it is a result of one of the fallacies of reasoning.
We fail to listen to the other person because we are so busy being hurt or offended. We forget what we can do in this moment to preserve the relationship. I think this most often occurs between couples. Some throw out all the rules and only want to injure the other as much as they feel injured.
This may be in the form of resurrecting issues that have been dead and buried for many moons—even if the parties agreed to disagree. You might see it in the form of revenge porn or sharing some other deep dark secret that was shared between you and your significant other. This is sad and beyond that I believe it is poor form.
Wouldn’t it be great to have couples attend Fighting Fair 101? A class where a contract was agreed upon by the parties involved? Where men and women wouldn’t burn, slash, sell or share coveted items and secrets?
Before it ever gets to the point where you have lost your thinking mind; remember to listen more than you speak. Make notes during a heated discussion if you have to circle back to a point or explain. Sometimes it is as simple as a difference in communication style. If something sounds offensive to you it may have been implied or inferred incorrectly.