The Niceness Conundrum

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.


4 thoughts on “The Niceness Conundrum

  1. And here I thought this was going to be a funny happy post… I’m sorry you are caught in such a difficult situation.
    I do have issues with coworkers that are older than me, usually I talk with my boss and she will handle it. I have tried to have calm conversations and handle things like adults but doesn’t always work well. You just have to do the best you can, and work on confronting people instead of getting sick over it, that’s what I used to do and that’s what I try not to do now. I will be praying for you friend as you get this through this unpleasant time. Now you have to do fun post after this one :)

  2. You poor thing. How dare he lash out at you! During my first internship this girl decided to give me crap because I couldn’t do something she wanted me to do. She was in sales and wanted me to interview someone who may buy advertising in the mag, if I interviewed them. I was on deadline, but tried to accommodate. The interviewee never got in touch with me tho, so I ran the story without it. Long story short, this girl spent the rest of that internship giving me dirty looks and when she spoke she would be really catty and mean. I was furious for a bit but then decided not to sweat her. Bottom line, there are mean and shitty people all over. If you know you’ve done something wrong the best thing to do is acknowledge it. But if you haven’t, then it’s not your problem. You just have to look at them from a place of sadness and pitty, like OMG, you must really be a miserable troll to act like this. Hating is a sickness-I hope you get well.

    Anyway, I totally know how you feel. This stuff is never fun.

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