Confrontation is a scary word. Even saying it gives you an uneasiness, doesn’t it? When situations come up or problems arise, I personally like to fix whatever is happening right then and there and move on – therefore, confrontation is inevitable. While I probably don’t struggle with it as much as some, I still definitely need to muster up the courage to confront a friend/coworker/etc and address the situation. I have to practice the narrative several times in my head and then proceed with caution.
I have been thinking about confrontation in relationships recently – How different people handle giving or receiving it, how I perceive it in my daily life, how it’s probably a healthier exercise than people actually give it credit for.
Living in the Midwest, I have learned that ‘passive-aggressive confrontation‘ is the socially acceptable thing to do. It is very common to see situations in these parts where people feel slighted in some way, whether a friend bails on plans or the waiter accidentally brings over the wrong entree, and the person chooses to not say anything – at least not directly. Comments might be made here or there around the subject, but the issue is really never addressed head-on. Perhaps they feel like they would be rude to open their mouth? Maybe it’s because they just don’t want to create a scene or turn something small into a bigger deal? And while these are all valid excuses, it only takes a few instances to suddenly feel like you’re everyone’s door mat.
In other parts of the country, it is extremely normal to be up-front and direct with someone right away when they feel they have been wronged. I admire the self-confidence in that these people know their worth and feel justified in standing up for themselves, but if I raised my hand every time the possibility arose, a confrontational situation would be around every corner.
There has got to be a good middle-ground – a kind of confrontation that happens when it is necessary, but certainly in moderation. A confrontation that is based in wanting to improve a relationship or state of being, rather than arguing to prove a point or cause drama. A kind of confrontation that is based in “I think/I feel” statements, rather than using “You did this.”
I am all for the kind of confrontation that is described above. In fact, I encourage it. If someone comes to me in this way with something they want to discuss or bring to my attention, I am positive that we will come out on the other side stronger than where we began.
I think that confrontation was supposed to be this way, about helping people better understand one another and help their relationships grow. If you confront someone in a positive way, it means you care about your relationship and the future it has.
Wherever you stand on the confrontation scale, whether it’s avoiding it like the plague or flocking to it whenever possible, think about why you choose that route and what is stopping you from finding a good middle ground that can enhance your life and relationships. It might be tough at first, but making an adjustment to how you view confrontation can make all the difference.