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A Boy, A Girl, and The Marine Corps: A Love Triangle: Conflict Resolution

A Boy, A Girl, and The Marine Corps: A Love Triangle

"I cast my lot with a Marine and where he was, was home to me." ~ Anonymous.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Conflict Resolution

I have spent the better part of my adult life working in some form of job that deals with the public.  After years (seven to be exact) in customer service, I have learned A LOT of things about dealing with anyone who claims to be human and have human emotions.  The fact of the matter is that most people just want to be heard.

They don't care if your hands are tied, or what kind of discount you will offer in return.  They don't care if you smile nicely, or if you laugh at their jokes.  What people want to to know is that you heard them.  This means that the easiest thing to do in any conflict is to listen.  And listen hard.  *Most* people will tell you exactly what they need to feel better.  What they usually need is to know that you understand.

This is not to say that those who are expressing their feelings are not without a role to play.

So, when you are at work and having issues with a co-worker, it is NOT helpful to say, "I hate you, you are an A**hole."  It is even less helpful to leave anonymous letters in your co-workers boxes in the mail room telling them nothing specific about what is upsetting you.  If you are unable to specifically say what is upsetting to you, the person you are upset with lacks the tools to change, better accommodate you, or otherwise be a better co-worker in return.  And it furthers to destroy your cause if you are unwilling to put your name on it.

I have learned more about how to deal with irritated and otherwise difficult people in my time in various customer service type positions.  And one thing I have learned is to listen, and understand that no matter what is going on in my life, there are things going on in others lives too.  This was a particularly hard thing to do while my husband was deployed.  Though, I tend to lean on the passive aggressive side of the behavior spectrum, one thing I do not take kindly to is being provoked.  But when my husband was gone, EVERYTHING provoked me.  I was a walking, talking, sad, angry, raw nerve that could turn weepy just as quickly as angry without any notice at all.

I spent a good deal of my time hiding to prevent my inner most thoughts from becoming word vomit.  It also means that I spent a lot of time practicing that little thing we call patience.  I found that the one and only time I spoke my mind was in a situation that it was the least called for.  It is 100% not fair to tell a woman who is complaining that her husband has worked late for the last 2 weeks this: "Well, at least your husband comes home everyday.  I haven't heard from mine in 10 days and don't even know if he is alive."

I may or may not be paraphrasing... But the point it this:  In her life, in her situation, what she was going through was tough.  It was not fair, nor my place, to try to force her into my life and my situation.    That is not me listening to her.  I didn't hear what she needed and had never spoken directly of my situation and how difficult it could be.  That means, she did a great job of telling me what she needed and I did a piss poor one of telling her what I needed.

My point is, that we cannot always know what others are going through.  We can't always understand and we are failing miserable as humans trying to care for one another when we fail to think of the very real person on the receiving end of our statements.

So, when I walk into work for a meeting and find an anonymous letter in my box, my heart sinks.  Not just at the idea that someone might have been hurt by something that I have said or done, but at the idea that this person is failing so miserably at their end of the conflict that there will never be any hope of being able to resolve it.  What we will be left with, will be much of what myself and that poor woman during my deployment were left with : two sides of a conflict that can never be resolved unless we are both willing to see the other person's side so that we can listen to what we both need and meet in the middle with understanding.

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*NOTE: 1.  I have said this before and I will say it again, I think it is cowardly to leave anonymous messages for anyone, blogger or co-worker.  If you need to speak your mind, be willing to put your names to the statements.  2.  I brought the letter to my Shift Lead and my actual boss, both of whom have assured me that there have been NO complaints about my behavior and they feel the statements in the letter were false.  Though I'm still hurt and sad about the letter, I'm trying to tell myself that the letter has no merit.  My shift lead actually asked if I was sure the letter was for me, due to the fact that it didn't sound anything like things I would do, nor have I ever done while working at my job.  It was not actually addressed to anyone, so I can hope it wasn't meant for me, but don't actually know who it could possibly be meant for.  I do not feel any of my co-workers capable of that type of negative behavior... But, I also can't think of a single person who would write such a letter, so I could be wrong. 

1 Comments:

Blogger Jen said...

I agree about anonymous comments, things can be solved so much faster by just being upfront. I'm sorry you have to deal with this.

August 22, 2012 at 10:11 PM  

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