Vive la difference


I was born happy!   I am a glass-half-full kind of person.   Like all of you, I am not immune to feelings of stress and anger at times, I just can’t hang on to them.  It’s like the string attached to a helium balloon that slipped through my fingers and I have forgotten what I was mad about.    This can be, and mostly is, a positive attribute.  After all, who likes to be around a grouch all the time or the person who can’t see the good in anyone or anything?

However my trait, as with all traits, can occasionally annoy others who are wired differently than you, or in this case, me.  For example, when my husband has been cut off on the highway by some inattentive driver, he wants me to take a few second and be in solidarity with his righteous indignation.   I have a tendency to excuse the inattentive driver because of their age or that they must be having a bad day or a tooth ache.   My response can be interpreted as not taking a stand versus “this just isn’t worth the emotion”.

The reality is, he needs me to dissipate a potentially combustible situation.   I need him for a dose of reality now and then and to take the rose colored glasses off.  It is a mutually beneficial arrangement that has been hued to a fine art over our history together.  Vive la difference!  And, as with all thing, it is not yet finished and a work in progress.

Every work place is full of different views of the world and the work and how to approach it.  We need that.   I was watching a TV show the other day, Head of State, and was impressed how direct and immediate the main character, a fictitious Secretary of State, dealt with subordinates, colleagues and superiors.  No emotion was employed, just a simple statement of the action that was objectionable and a clear definition of the solution.  No threats were required to reinforce the gravity of the situation, and the relationship was not impaired, in fact it was enhanced.

At work, when someone is ranting, it helps to ask that person, “What do you need from me?” Help them define if they want someone to just to listen or to problem solve.  By doing so you acknowledge their feelings but move it to some action, fix it or be done with it.   When you have critical feedback to give, clear, concise, simple language is often the best way to address the situations and move on.

So the next time a driver cuts my husband off I’m going to say something like, “I know how makes you crazy.  I wish they could call you for driving lessons.”  I can see his eyes rolling now.