“Tom, you need to stay away from Sherry.”
“Because she says she doesn’t like you.”
“I don’t know. She just doesn’t.”
That’s a scene from my college years. I remember the conversation but not who told me or the name of the young woman who didn’t like me. Three decades makes the remembrance a little grainy and more amusing than painful.
It was a strange exchange. I had no interest in dating the girl. I didn’t cross paths with her often. But she felt compelled to let me know through our mutual friend that she disliked me.
When someone dislikes you or something you said, you have a couple of choices.
1) Okay, you don’t want to hear from me then you won’t. My wife leans toward this reaction when I say something like “I’m tired of hearing that.” She doesn’t say a word but I hear her thoughts loud and clear. “You don’t want to hear from me? Fine. You won’t.” I catch on but it takes a day or two.
2) Okay, you don’t want to hear from me. Tough turtles. That’s the direction I often lean. It’s the don’t-touch-that-button request with the response, “You mean this one,” as you push it.
We typically respond in one of those two ways when confronted with a problem. The response in part depends on your personality. Some people are brusque and insensitive. Others more tender—both when confronted and when having to confront.
The response also depends on the strength of the relationship. I’m more likely to push buttons with my wife than with someone I barely know—such as the millionaire Muslim mentioned in a previous post.
It also depends on the cool factor. About the only time the cool factor doesn’t play a role in relationships is when you’re at the age where clothing remains optional or when dementia has set in.
Think about it. Does a two-year-old care what everyone is wearing?
He can stand buck naked in a crowd and still find a discarded cigarette butt absorbing.
The parents freak out.
“What the…? When did Junior slip out of his shorts?”
“Now, Bubby, you don’t know where that’s been. That’s yucky. Put it down.”
You know what the naked two-year-old does when his parents freak? He smiles and lifts up the cigarette butt. Cool means nothing to him.
To summarize, our reaction to confrontation or troubles depends on…
2) Strength of relationship
3) The cool factor.
Those BBs are still bounce, bounce, bouncing. Next post will address the cool factor and, of all things, witnessing to millionaire Muslims and anyone else close enough to care.
Question: how do you react when someone tells you what you should or shouldn’t do?
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