Difficult People

Sometimes it is difficult to decide when I’m being the difficult one or when it is the other person in the conversation, because obviously it has to be the other person, right?

So, from time to time, I must stop and consider these things:

Did I just repeat my same point more than once? (Probably 3 or 4 times)
Am I getting a response other than “I hear what you’re saying, but . . .” (Or am I giving that response?)
Am I even listening to the other person anymore or just waiting for my turn to interrupt their argument?
Do I have to have the last word, because she who speaks last, wins.

After I take stock of these questions, I have to admit, sometimes it is me. I can be stubborn as heck when I believe I’m right and I’m not about to be proven wrong. The person on the receiving end probably has a few choice words in their head about my personality.

Of course, this depends on the stakes, but when I think about it, the stakes can be pretty low at times and I’ll still argue. I have a reputation as a smart, knowledgeable, patient individual (frankly, I don’t know where people get that I’m patient, as this is a virtue I struggle with daily). I’m not supposed to be wrong.  I’ll admit when I don’t know something, and I’ll endeavor to find out about it, if I have the time to do so. But wrong? I’ve always hated being wrong, ever since I was a little girl. I see where this idea that I needed to be right all the time led to turning inward, appearing shy and withdrawn. Better to keep the answer to myself than risk saying the wrong answer out loud.

At the same time, it isn’t always me that being the difficult one. I’ve had my experience with these folks as well, the ones that refuse to accept the answer that is unequivocally correct and is backed up by factual evidence and a second opinion. Perhaps this is my strongest test of patience, learning to explain for the fifth time why the answer they seek is impossible or improbable and reiterating the answer in different words that might click in the other person’s logic circuit.  Some people make things a lot harder than they need to be.

Sometimes, I just have to step away and let the argument die out.

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