Monday, December 7, 2009

No Triple Negatives Now!

“They may forget what you said, but they will never forget how you made them feel.”

—Carl W. Buechner.

Some interactions simply leave a bitter taste in our mouths. We can’t really explain it at the time, they’re just negative and we can’t wait to move on. I saw an interaction take place recently in a professional setting whereby a negative communication between two parties was exacerbated to the point it caused triple the damage.

Firstly, there was the matter of the issue itself. Both people/parties decided to agree to disagree yet it couldn’t really be left that way. A negative outcome it had to be, apparently. Added to this negativity was the secondary issue of that bitter taste left in the mouths of those involved. No one was budging.

Thirdly, and perhaps most tragically, there was no recourse to the remorse of repentance (for want of a better secular term).

The problem with all this negativity—apart from it being simply “negative”—is that there’s usually an ongoing propagation of the negativity… things get worse. They even impact on both parties’ future prospects, for ‘the walls have ears.’ The stench of raw dealing lingers on the palate of many other parties we don’t even realise are watching on. People talk after all.

To have a conflict that goes pear-shaped is forgivable. To leave it go in our disappointment, not able to rationalise it with the other party in the moment, is also forgivable. But, what is less forgivable is to leave an important relationship (and all our interactions are important) hanging and unresolved (as far as it depends on us).

These things have a habit of affecting our future opportunities. We’re always best off burying the hatchet before moving onto other things. Besides, we leave our own wellbeing’s in the fate of the hate gods and bitter endings never really make anyone feel very special.

© S. J. Wickham, 2009.

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