Some humans seem to thrive on confrontation, as if it is an addiction. Others persistently avoid it. To be sure, confrontation puts everyone on edge, heightens our blood pressure, kicks the old sweat glands into gear.
The folks I know who handle confrontation in the healthiest manner do these things:
- They ask good questions of the other, in attempt to fully understand.
- They listen carefully to the other in response to those questions.
- They purposefully try to turn down the volume and limit the hostility.
- They insist on sticking to the issue, not drifting toward peripheral issues or the digging up of old bones.
- They ALWAYS assume that, in the end, they themselves could be proven wrong.
- They attempt to use the confrontation as a way to build a bridge rather than destroy a relationship.
Unhealthy approaches to confrontation include:
- Threatening words, threatening postures, threatening acts.
- Surprise engagements, the launching of the confrontation without warning or prelude.
- LOUDNESS in the discourse, as if the decibel level somehow lends credence to ones position.
- Leveraging divisiveness, rather than unity or compromise, as a tool.
- Demonizing the other when resolution seems elusive.
I trust that Moe (my lovely bride of 41 years) and I were reasonably successful in teaching our children the healthier approaches to confrontation, for most assuredly, our grandchildren (and their own) will harvest the efforts of that teaching.