I used to duck my head down low and avoid any eye contact when there was confrontation in the room. Whether it involved me or not, I’d hide as fast and as hard as I could. Becoming more comfortable with confrontation has been another surprising side-effect of being a stay at home dad. Not only do I have to confront my little boss throughout the day, I also have to show him how to resolve conflict with other people when we’re out of the house, which means I have to learn to resolve conflict. I have a pretty significant loss on my conflict resolution record right now, but that’s a story for another time and the source of that problem is finally out of my day-to-day life. Anyway.
Since I’m more likely to speak up and challenge people when they’re being stupid, I’m entering into a new conundrum: learning how to ignore fights that don’t really matter.
I’ve been able to ignore the majority of the incessant whining from one acquaintance (he occasionally earns his way back to the rank of ‘casual friend’ but then torpedoes himself back down to ‘acquaintance’ with his offensive, stupid mouth). But our shared friend decided to pipe up and join in with the stupid whining last night, and that set me off a little. It didn’t help that the friend was speaking about a kid’s party and the etiquette therein, when he has zero children. I’m not saying that I don’t have a right to be cheesed off at people who open their yaps to spout some nonsense, but the difficulty or danger is that my response will be too enthusiastic. Just because I can now tell somebody to shut up and take their stupid ideas with them, doesn’t mean I need to go to defcon 1 and destroy the friendship over a difference of opinion.
You have to keep in mind that I have decades of deferred rage that will continually push for escape, and I have to keep re-adjusting my temper controls or I’m going to start making a mess.
Related sub-note: I wonder if anyone else has such a complicated set of expectations that go along with the title of ‘friend’? Because I have some high standards, it seems, and if I hold to them with religious fervor, I’m going to have a friend count of 1 (hi honey!). Okay, that’s an exaggeration, but you get my meaning.
Unrelated sub-note: it’s still really tricky to choose how candid this blog will be. Will I start to name names? Dish the dirt? alienate everyone I know? Or will I neuter the crap out of this blog to make it my list of inoffensive and uninteresting things?