On the heels of On Calling Bullshit, I was, naturally, presented with an opportunity to indeed call someone’s bullshit. When I wrote that post in July, I thought there would be only feelings of great achievement if I were to call out another person for the crap they were giving me. I thought I would come through in the end victorious, thinking, “Yay! I stood up for myself!”
I’m sure that you are unsurprised to find that I learned I was very wrong indeed.
I struggle to identify the situations in which I should stand up and fight because it is the right thing to do for a real, important reason – not just because my pride is telling me that it is offended and the offender must be stopped. In the heat of the moment, a verbal attack is all-consuming. Right then and there, it matters so much. But once the smoke clears, the offense matters much less and I learn that the fight wasn’t worth the destruction it caused.
Here’s my opinion about opinions: we are all entitled to having them; we are not entitled to share them without solicitation. Of course, that’s not always how life plays out and the result is often defensiveness and hurt feelings. With both parties foolishly engaging in a battle of the wits, it’s a lose-lose situation. Yes, we can get rubbed the wrong way. Yes, we all have feelings, too. But no, I never want to lose myself again in a misjudged pursuit of being “right”.
The fight I had with my friend threw me for a loop, and I needed some guidance with how to better handle the situation. So, I turned to some trusted individuals for their thoughts on the matter and they recommended the following:
1) If, from the get-go, you have a bad feeling and you know this won’t end well, then do not engage. Just let it go.
2) Strong Sensitive Souls suggests bowing-out gracefully. Say, “Thanks so much for that insight. Have a nice day.” By disengaging, you communicate that you are not okay with the situation without further intensifying it.
3) Ask yourself, “Is this a real problem that will still be a real problem tomorrow? Is there any injustice here beyond my hurt feelings?” If the answer is no, then do not fight back. And if you are so mad that you cannot even fathom taking a breath to ask these questions, then you should definitely not engage.
4) Don’t put on your boxing gloves. Somebody has to be the bigger person. Let that person be you.