Last Updated Jul 27, 2009 4:01 PM EDT
Whatever it is, it's annoying. But is it worth a confrontation?
The question was prompted by my reading of a short post from Arif & Ali's Blog that suggested there are times you should remain silent.
Referring back to the book Crucial Confrontations, the duo suggest you hold your tongue if:
- the problem is small, won't happen again, and you know the other person already feels bad
- the problem doesn't have a significant impact
- If a confrontation is unlikely to result in a change, skip it. This includes trying to discuss the aforementioned braying laugh or attempting to modify personality traits. No matter how much you might want to, you can't force someone to be less bubbly or more talkative or give up their penchant for '80s slang.
- Don't confront just because you need to be proven right about something. That's just a grown-up version of the "I told you so" game and it doesn't result in anything but resentment. If there's no other point to the discussion other than you flaunting your superiority, just skip it.
- Don't confront until you gather all the information. I've found myself with egg on my face more than once because I called someone to task for something that turned out not be their fault or their doing.
- Don't confront someone if there's a chance of physical danger. This makes my list because of an unfortunate altercation I once had with a disgruntled athlete when I was a sports reporter. I learned that it's not a good idea to take issue with someone calling you a "nosy b!&@%" if that someone is a 300-pound lineman who just lost a crucial game. No injuries to report, other than my wounded pride as I literally had to run away to avoid his flailing fists.
Tomorrow, I'm planning to write a bit about how to confront constructively. In the meantime, share your thoughts, experiences, and confrontation horror stories with me in the comments section.
(image by *clairity* via Flickr, CC 2.0)