Conflict and Confrontation

By | September 6, 2008

I think I’ve blogged along these lines before, but it doesn’t hurt to revisit. A while ago, some things that someone was doing were annoying me. I thought about this a bit and recognized a couple of things. Usually when this happens, the natural reaction is to start acting like a jerk towards the person and/or start bad-mouthing the person to other people. Neither of these actions are right, and I’ve learned from past experience that often times the person doesn’t realize that they are doing anything to bug you. In other words, a person does something and you believe it ought to be as obvious to them as it is to you that they are doing something wrong. So you start acting like a jerk. Meanwhile, the person very well may be clueless as to what is going on and why you are acting such as you are. This doesn’t seem very productive, does it?

When looked at this way, the obvious thing to do is to talk to the person who is bugging you. For people with non-confrontational personalities such as my self, this can be hard to do. In my mind, the goal of talking to the person is to communicate your perspective in such a way that they are open to hearing it. Calmly communicate exactly what is bothering you and avoid judgement and personal criticism. Hopefully, if they’re a decent person and your request is reasonable, they’ll change the situation. I say this because when annoyed, it can be easy to communicate in a way which attacks the person in general. They’ll hear you loud and clearly as you give them a piece of your mind. However, they aren’t likely to be aren’t open to accepting it but are rather likely be closed and defensive. I don’t feel that this is generally a positive solution as it may not change things at all. It’s more likely to just put distance in your relationship.

photo credit: M. Pratter via photopin cc

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  • Daniel (Like a Mustard Seed…)

    I can definately relate to what you said about speaking confrontationally to people, which yeah, does tend to make people become defensive and closed! I’ve had to learn the hard way many times, that the truth must be spoken in love, and I’m still learning a lot on that one….

    I came across your site thru a friend of ours Keith’s blog(subversive underground) and was encouraged by your comment there. I was also rather encouraged by several of the articles you’ve written. Namely, what you wrote about the church, “my theology”, and “why don’t intelligent people believe in Christianity?” That last one especially, because I’ve been really striving to communicate with people in the church about that very thing a lot lately. I suppose it really burdens me especially, because I WAS one of those people who only understood truth as something intellectual, something to be studied, pondered, and then regurgitated. Now that I know Christ as a real person, who has dealt with my very real sin, I now find myself trying to explain to people the difference between the head and the heart (and usually am just met with blank stares…). It’s like talking to myself from ten years ago, over, and over again! Kinda frustrating, but I can’t seem to keep quiet on that one now that I know what it really means to know Jesus on a heart level!

    It’s just encouraging to hear another person articulating the same things (besides my wife that is, who has understood this stuff all along… She’s pretty cool.)