People can be difficult to deal with on a regular basis. It infuriates me a lot when I can’t reach a compromise with someone, whether it’s at work, home, or anywhere.
I hate being lectured and one of the challenges I face is that once someone starts that, my brain is immediately compelled to switch on defence mode.
However, doing that just makes things worse. One time I was talking with someone towards the end of my winter semester and when I told them I was going to volunteer at two different places, they threw in the idea that I should also get a part-time job. I didn’t want to do too many things at once during my spring/summer break before returning to college.
Instead of simply saying I wasn’t interested, my anxiety switch flicked on without me knowing. The easiest thing I could have done was to just respond that I was not interested. If that person continued to push all the benefits of their suggestion, I could have just become a broken record and repeated myself. That would have saved me from another anxiety attack that would have ruined my day.
Too often I run into these scenarios where I could have just easily escaped them by being a broken record. My parents have always told me that the only behaviour I can control is my own and I pick the ditch I want to die in.
So how do I train my brain to do this? One of the hardest parts is the urge to respond immediately when someone gives me a hard time. But unless it’s blood and broken bones, I don’t need to. I can take a moment to think and then teach myself to shift gears to the broken record like a railroad switch that will change the direction the train goes.
I also do this at work as well when the situation permits it, especially if someone gets impatient with me demanding I provide them with something. Of course, I still have a protocol to follow and cannot guarantee that what they need will be ready immediately or within five minutes. So, I just let the word train change tracks to the broken record track and just say something like:
I don’t have an exact ETA for you but we’re working on it.
And then I repeat myself if I have to. It depends on what comes after that. But yeah, I’ve realized over the past year how some things are just not worth stirring the pot over, it’s better to just be a broken record.
Doing so can save you from the stress that comes with conflict and I think we’re better off that way because like I said, no matter how much somebody can piss you off, the only behaviour you can control is your own.