Re: The Martial Art of Difficult Conversations
The steps taken by the husband to diffuse an emotional situation can be found in a lot of customer relation courses as well as in 'Verbal Judo' courses geared towards law enforcement personnel - core principle here is to not throw fuel on a fire. The neighbor was obviously expecting a fight and the husband dissipated that - as Francis mentioned, this is good mental aiki.
However, Mark has some very good points as well. After the emotions died down, I think the husband needed to present their reasons for their actions so the neighbor had a chance to understand the reality of the situation; which is her son illegally parked his car in some else's driveway depriving the owners the use of their own property.
I was involved in a similar event a year or so ago when I came home and found a car illegally parked half in my side yard and half on the street - it looked like someone just drove up into my yard halfway at an angle and just abandoned the car. I did not recognize the car, and based on its position between my two neighbors across the street, it did not look like they were visiting any of them since there was room in their driveways for visitors as well on the street closer to their own homes. It just did not look right, and a few months ago, a neighbor a mile or so from us was gunned down and robbed at his front door by four guys just driving around in our suburban area looking for a crime of opportunity. So, I wrote down the license number of the car and called the police just to be safe. After I called, one of my neighbors apparently saw me writing down the plate number and came over to explain that the car belong to a friend of his wife and that they went out shopping. I asked him why they parked well into my yard when there was plenty of room in his driveway and in front of his house - he did not have an answer. I told him I called the police, but I will call them back and explain what happened and to drop the incident ( they came around away) he asked me why I called the police, so I explained it looked odd and based on the killing a few months ago, it was the smart thing to do. To this day, he just can not bring himself to see it from my point of view and just does not understand why I called - this guy it a victim waiting to happen.
Anyway, I think it is important that people understand that there can be unpleasant consequences to their actions and that they need to try to see things from some else's perspective to try to understand the other person's actions.