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Old 11-05-2009, 07:32 AM   #26
Join Date: Jan 2005
Posts: 1,996
Re: The Martial Art of Difficult Conversations

Kevin Leavitt wrote: View Post
I disagree Mark...I think you've missed a big part of deeper issue.

Having been in the situation in which I am the only authority...there is no one left to call or appeal to for outside help. "Nuking them", only seems to cause problems later on.

Failing to understand their point of view regardless of how stupid and irrational it may be can cause you problems later on.

It requires a great deal of personal restraint and supression of your own emotions to do this.

In all cases where I have followed this type of problem solving...I have walked away with a deeper understanding of the real underlying issues and have been in a better situation to have a permanent solution.

As the last result...if in the end, I still believe the person is a complete bonehead and it does not go the right way....I sleep alot better at night knowing that my decision to "write them off" was the right one.

That said, there is a time and place for everything and sometimes it is not warranted to continue to expose yourself to "violence" and a call for swift decisive action is needed.

I think in this example though, a neighbor and seeking to understand...goes a long way at allowing for everyone to go home and still be friends.

I wish more folks acted this way than less.
Hi Kevin,

Let me explain a bit more. I didn't say to nuke them or not to understand their situation or to let your emotions go out of control. Just the opposite. You don't go screaming in there with a phone, threatening to call the police. That's stupid. You'll only get screaming back. I figured most people would key in on my words "behave respectfully" and "adult manner" and understand that calm, cool, and collected were assumed. Give them the options of either conversing as adults to resolve the problem (which includes listening) or if they want to keep screaming like children (don't use those words), then law enforcement will be called.

It isn't a threat. It's a manner of determining how the situation will play out, of assessing the stability of the neighbor, of controlling the situation, of protecting yourself. There are a myriad of reasons why the neighbor is there, mad and yelling. Just how far gone emotionally is she? If law enforcement must be called, then there's no way any amount of calm on your end that would have made a difference. Law enforcement also creates records of the incident, which if things get worse can help your situation in court. Etc, etc.

Does my example work in every situation? No. But it's a much better thing to do than what the author did. Think Pavlov's dog. Kind of generic, but it works as an example. Just what did the author do to the neighbor? The author reinforced the neighbor's ideas that other people's property can be used without permission. I don't care how "understanding" the author believed himself to be, what he did was entirely and completely wrong. There are ways of being "understanding" that do not imprint or reinforce bad ideologies.

The author apologized for their actions, which reinforced the neighbor's ideas that she was right to use someone else's driveway without permission or notice. Apologizing also signifies that the author believes what he did was wrong and what the neighbor did was right. Would you want to fight a court battle over paying the towing fees where the fact that you apologized is evidence? You stated by apology that you believed that what you did was wrong. Good luck in court with that. Best lawyer wins, but you lose no matter what.

Another thing that was reinforced was that screaming and throwing a fit works. She got her apology from the author. Through yelling and throwing a fit, the author "understood" her position and apologized for his actions. Nowhere in this whole incident did the neighbor ever learn the lesson that you don't use other people's property without permission. The author didn't learn the lesson that you don't reinforce bad ideologies, but try to teach people where they went wrong and how not to repeat that mistake.

When you do something wrong, you're supposed to learn from your mistake. And people should be there helping you to learn if you can't do that yourself. None of that happened in this scenario. No one learned anything.

Both parties acted irresponsibly and reinforced ideologies that do not build proper character. Whether contrived or real, what was presented in that article was horrible. There are significantly better ways to achieve the same results. People acting in this manner are creating more problems in the long run than solving them.

This shows the current ideological trend that as long as you "try", whatever you do isn't bad, or wrong. That article should be a textbook case of what *not* to do in situations like this (again, I'm not talking about interacting with criminals, insane people, domestic disputes, etc).

Remain calm, yeah. Listen, yeah. Understand, yeah. All good ideas. But there are ways of doing that which help to build proper character. Nothing in this article follows that. The sad part is that the author is CEO and out there teaching this stuff. I can only guess that it's like two peas in the same pod. They only know their own way of conversing and reaching each other. I just wonder where we started planting such stunted peas?
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