I posted some things in anger and frustration this week. Those of you who saw them, saw a side of me not everyone gets to see. But parts of the posts were unfair, and even stooped to the level of an-eye-for-an-eye. So I removed them from my website and decided to talk to a couple of people and get a reality check.
After the reality check, I decided I knew more clearly where I stood, and decided that with one person, I could work things out, while the other person was not worth my time and my energy.
How did I make the decision?
The three points I based it upon were this:
- Integrity. One of the people I knew to at least care about what he was arguing with me about. He was not actively trying to make trouble, he was just saying how he felt and reacting to his honest interpretations of others actions (including my own).
Unlike the other person, he was seeking greater harmony rather than greater discord. Therefore, he and I shared similar general goals and I could find resolving the issues between us worthwhile. In contrast, the other person through dissembling sought to cause problems between other staff members. Trying to resolve things directly contradicts his goals in the office, and as such would be a worthless effort. The best I can do is keep my guard up for the next time he tries to foment problems.
- The person I resolved things with actually cares about things deeply, as I do. This commonality gives us a penchant for being emotionally involved in things like the state of the office culture and interactions in that place, as well as the very issues we were discussing. While we may sometimes err in listening, in understanding one anothers’ intentions, neither of us have absolutely selfish ends at heart. The end result of the confrontaion and subsequent resolution was that both of us left it thinking about our own faults and how we can improve on them, due to honest discussion of how others interpret each other.
Conversely, the other person, when confronted about his attempt to start a fight, apologized profusely but, it seems to me, did not think deeply about what he’d done. He was proficient at saying he was sorry, but I have strong doubts (based on my own experience and the related experience of others) that he will change his behaviour. He is highly unlikely to engage in any serious self-critical thinking or try to address the problems or issues in his own behaviour, and therefore trying to make him aware of them would likely not be effective.
- Finally, the person I resolved things with was honest with me. He did not lie to my face about his actions or intentions, but admitted his mistakes (as I admitted mine, which I hope he understood was honest and not just a superficial show in the hopes of smoothing things over).
In contrast, the person I decided not to talk to about his actions, I decided not to talk to because, as far as I can tell, he lied to me. When I first asked him whether he’d considered that his actions might have caused another confrontation in the office, he claimed it’d never crossed his mind, and acted surprised at the possibility. But I found out later that at least one staff member had explicitly advised him of exactly that. I cannot regard that as other than a lie, but perhaps it was a venial lie rooted in embarrassment at being caught out, rather than something more deeply dishonest. However, a lie is a lie and reasoning with a liar is likely to end in confusion or wasted time.
The lesson of the day is that with some people, resolving one’s differences is worth it; but with others, the best thing one can do is simply be cognizant that trying to do so will be a worthless exercise, and the best one can do is be on one’s guard and ready to catch out the lie, draw the line, and force proper behaviour out of the discordant… for surely, if one is honest and known to be willing to try resolve differences, people will know this and recognize when a line has been well and truly crossed.
It’s sad, though, how childish and troublemaking some people can be. Seems that the childish view of it being alright to do nasty things, as long as one isn’t caught, survives to adulthood in some people. It’s a highly Republican trait, I find. Maybe a Democrat trait too, but I find it more often in the behaviour of Republicans. Hmmm.
And that is truly a sad, small, pathetic thing to behold. Luckily, it’s easy to rise above that sort of thing, and there is often help just waiting to be found.