Thursday, June 21, 2012

To Say or Not to Say

The first time someone does something that irritates me, I have that moment of disbelief where I wonder: “What the hell are you thinking? Why would you do that? Why would you say that?” Which is then followed by the hopeful denial of “This isn’t going to become a thing, is it? Please tell me this is a fluke.” And then later, horror sets in as I realize that this thing isn’t going away; despite my dismayed expression and lack of enthusiasm, this person thinks that I’m on board with this thing that I abhor. So then it comes the inevitable decision of either ignoring the thing that bugs me (which I’ve already tried to let slide but for whatever reason just can’t), or telling the person to please stop.

Whether you say something or not often depends on the situation, relationship to the person and the temperament of the person themselves (as some people are more capable of taking constructive criticism and changing than others). Assuming that the person can take a dose of honesty, then being direct about the thing that is annoying you is the best course of action—especially in the long run. Because every time you’re with that person, you don’t want to be anxiously waiting for the thing to happen and then be secretly seething on the inside once it does happen. And then you don’t want that internal seething to build up and boil over one day when you just snap at the person who didn’t even realize was pissing you off.

So really, I’m doing us all a favor by speaking up. Being (politely) direct is the least painful way to deal with a situation that isn’t working. It may cause some initial discomfort at the actual “Please stop doing this” conversation, but it’s way better than being passive aggressive and just expecting change to magically happen by giving nonverbal cues that go unnoticed…that’ll just create some prolonged misery. People aren’t mind readers, so telling people what’s on your mind is necessary at times.

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