I have a huge problem with conflict. I hate it. Just the anticipation of conflict fills me with dread. One reason for this is that my body decided somewhere along the line that it would physically manifest all strong emotions with uncontrollable tears. This is most inconvenient in the case of anger or frustration. I can’t just have a stern conversation with someone who is very upset with me without some darned tears filling my eyes. This is so annoying. Especially when one is at work and does not want to appear 1. weak, 2. 15 years old, or 3. mentally unstable.
Another reason I fear conflict is that I genuinely hate upsetting other people. I’m not going to claim I am some kind of saint and just don’t like hurting others, although that is part of the reason. The real reason is that it is so uncomfortable for me to have someone upset with me. I seriously can’t handle it. It completely upsets my homeostasis and stresses me out. Why is this? I know plenty of people who are not cold-hearted who can just say, “Eh, I made so-and-so mad the other day. Oh well, she’ll get over it”. Why can such a phrase never honestly pass my lips?? Am I doomed to forever be chained to the idea that I need to be perceived as “nice” by everyone? Is this an unfortunate side effect of being raised Southern?
This morning someone got very upset with me, for a reason that was genuinely not my fault. A decision was made by higher-ups at work that benefitted me and required change of him. I knew he would be unhappy about it, but I did not anticipate that I would receive a serious tongue-lashing from a coworker in my office. Twice. I was dumbfounded. Fortunately, the decision that angered him so much was not mine, so I don’t have to stress about the wisdom of it. However, I am left with some questions.
1. How do you deal with conflict with a coworker, especially one who is 20+ years older than you (and therefore probably assumes you are an idiot who is much less important than they)?
2. Is there any cure for the awkwardness of being around someone who hates your guts?
3. Why does niceness have to be so uncomfortable?
I have no answers. Fortunately, the tongue-lashings were short enough for me to be able to hold tears in check until I was alone. Although if I had let one slip the guilt it might have caused him probably would have been slightly satisfying. (I know, that’s terrible.)
In conclusion, I wish that Michelle from Full House had walked in after his little rant this morning, because I just wanted him to know how freakin’ rude he was being. Ugh. Happy Wednesday indeed.