Not Everyone Will Like Me

I wonder why some people don’t fear confrontation while others, like myself, do.  First of all, the word “fear” is a simple word with a big meaning.  My fear, when it comes to confrontations or arguments, isn’t one involving paralyses or anything but I definitely feel anxiety.  The level of anxiety, of course, depends on the circumstances.  But no matter what way I slice it or label it confrontations of any kind fill me with dread.

Confrontations come in many shapes and sizes.  I’ll list a few that I’ve had experiences with…

There’s the “billing” kind.    You’ve been charged the incorrect amount for something and you need to “confront” the cashier or business to get it rectified.  Yelling is one tactic, I suppose.  What the hell!?  Ten bucks for a carton of milk??  What are ya?  Stupid?!  Buuuut, I don’t think it’ll get you very far.  Some people seem to think it will, though.  This one isn’t bad for me.  If know I’m right and I have my proof it’s all good, but depending on the complication factor (product price vs power bill) I like to have my spiel worked out in my head before-hand. 

Then there’s the “negotiation” kind.  Specifically, buying a vehicle.  This may not fit exactly into the confrontation definition, but the anxiety is the same for me.   When we bought our van a few years ago, I stood up to the salesman and stated that I wouldn’t accept being charged their “stupid standard administration charge” of $199.00.  I took a stand and said we’d walk away from the van if he insisted.  He didn’t like it, and was giving me his salesman speech, and succeeding trying to make me feel guilty.  I was calm and determined to him, but inside my stomach was in knots.  I prevailed in the end, though, and we weren’t charged the fee.  I did what I needed to, but it was not a comfortable feeling.  Stupid salesmen.

Another, totally unpleasant kind, is the confrontation between friends.  During most long term friendships there comes a time where one does something that pisses off the other.  In my opinion, if you want to have a meaningful friendship where you know you can fully trust that person, you must confront and sort out the issue.  Aside: Men don’t seem to have this need.  They can have a major argument one day and even tell each other to f-off, but then carry on the next day as if nothing happened.  I haven’t met many women that can do that although I’m sure they’re out there.  I’m certainly not one of them.  I think it has something to do with the nature of mens’ friendships vs those of women.  I think ours are deeper.  A meaningul discussion for men could be about who is the most valuable hockey player on a given team.  Disclaimer: Since I am not a man, I may be wrong…ummmm…but I don’t think I am!   I’ve had instances where I’ve said something insensitive to a friend and they’ve phoned me up to tell me I hurt them.  Immediately, my stomach clenches and my hands start to shake.  The first time it happened I was about twenty.  I didn’t know how to respond so I just said: “Okay.  Sorrrrr-ee.”  I hung up the phone and immediately phoned a different friend asking her opinion.  I’m very glad to say that I’ve grown up and wouldn’t do that now!  The couple of times it’s happened since I made sure I heard the friend out and expressed empathy.  “I can see why what I said upset you.  I’m sorry.”  But I still feel major anxiety.  If the friendship is important, however, it’s worth the discomfort. 

There’s the parenting confrontations that we sometimes have to deal with daily.  In this case, my emotion is more like anger, but one could argue (and I would) that anger is related to anxiety and fear.  I won’t go into this one.  Suffice it to say that these “confrontations” are a necessary evil.

As are the times when we need to stand up for our younger kids and confront another adult on their behalf.  Some moms I know, just plow into those confrontations full of righteous indignation.  They are the mama lion.  “Mess with my kid, and I’ll bite you’re head off!”  My mom was like that.  So, perhaps that’s why I tend to be a little more conservative in this department.  Ohh, I stand up for my kids.  Do not misunderstand.  But I do give it thought, rehearse my speech ahead of time, and yes bring my friend, Miss Anxiety, along with me.

The final one I’ll mention is the marital kind.  I find this one the most difficult.  Two people living, working, and parenting together have the potential for many disagreements.  Duh.  (That’s the epitome of understatement.)  I married young at 22 and I avoided confronations at all costs.  During the last several years I’ve seen the error of my ways.  I no longer go quietly into the night, but it ain’t fun. 

What’s most frustrating is that often I can’t think of things to say in the moment.  It’s not until I’m away from the situation that the perfect “come-back” comes to mind.

In the end, I have to admit that I don’t want to make someone mad at me or cause them not to like me.  Already, I can hear the thoughts in response to that statement:  “I could care less what people think of me”, “You can’t please everyone”, “Not everyone will like me and that’s just fine”, etc, ect.  I know!  That’s why, in my thirties, even though I feel fear I do it anyway.  In fact, it’s those statements I say to myself as a pep talk before I go into “battle”.  Because here’s a revelation:  Not everyone will like me!  How ’bout that?  And it’s a suprisingly freeing realization, too.  It’s easy enough to say, but it’s one I’ve embracing more and more.  Not EVERYone will like me!!  Whooo hoooo.  But plenty will because I’m a damn good person.  😀

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About Debbie

I am a stay at home mom of 2 energetic children. I homeschool them as well. I have a great husband who, after 7 years of working away from, finally has a job where he is home every night. We are trying to learn how to live together again along with adjusting to the lower pay that came along with the job change.
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16 Responses to Not Everyone Will Like Me

  1. Sirdar says:

    I don’t think anyone particularly likes or looks forward to confrontations. I know I don’t. But, if push come to shove, I will make sure my point is made. But it has taken me a long time to come to that point. And it sounds like you have reached that point too.

    I have been a bit more, not confrontational, but forward in my comments when I think someone is pulling a fast one one me.

    There is also a time to pick your battles, and a time to say ‘who cares’. Is the battle really worth it? Most times no. So, don’t battle if it doesn’t matter that much to you.

    I know that in my role at work, I will need to be a bit more confrontational. Believe it or not, I am looking forward to the challenge. Why? Because I believe it makes you grow. How you deal with any situation makes it a growing experience. Even if you lose, you win. The old saying, you may lose the battle, but not the war.

    I’m not sure what brought on this post, but whatever it was, I hope it works out for the best.

  2. Dawn says:

    I hate confrontation. I get a big pit in my stomach and my voice shakes. I just can’t stand it, and I try to avoid confrontation. I think it gets better with age and practice, but I still would rather avoid it.

  3. Debbie says:

    Sirdar – Picking your battles is wise advise and so true. Some things aren’t worth the effort. And don’t worry – everything is fine on this end. 🙂

    Dawn – Now THAT totally surprises me. Huh. Not that I thought you liked confrontations or anything I just pegged you for the no fear folk. Thanks for sharing. 🙂

  4. Sirdar says:

    Ya…Dawn just looks mean 😆

  5. Sirdar says:

    Posting from my hospital bed here…..

    Dawn is the nicest person alive!! 🙂

  6. Pamela says:

    Recently I’ve started giving more grace to sales people, etc. Most of them have responsibility but no authority… BUT, if they are nasty or crabby and have an attitude, they DO have authority over that.

    laughing at Sirdar– I’ve been so cranky at my husband lately.

  7. bergerac says:

    The need sometimes to be heard – when one is ‘right and just’ – is something I can rise too – albeit if I feel an injustice has taken place.

    I prefer a more placid approach as confrontation can only bring about anxiety for all sides = and therefore a calm approach allows both sides hopefully peace of mind as well as learning of mistakes.

    If I need to be assertive I have gone for the jugular – verbally that is – but only when all else fails and the need to be decisive and end the situation without further protracted arguing.

    An intriguing post and one in which I feel has been on your mind.

  8. bergerac says:

    Just as an after thought – me thinks your ‘Frying Pan’ – should be removed to a place of safety 😆

  9. Joy T. says:

    I will walk 20 miles around someone to avoid confrontation I hate it that much. Depending on the person doing the confronting I don’t back down easily when pushed into a corner, but it will very rarely be me starting the confrontation.

    And I’ve had female friends where we got along much like guys do and they were the best friendships I ever had. To not have to worry or walk on eggshells at every turn? Well there’s something quite freeing about that. But I have met very few women like that and it’s sad.

  10. Heather says:

    I hate confrontations too. I hate to admit it but I’d rather just deal with the problem than have to go through a confrontation. Hubby has no problem with confrontations. I guess we balance each other out.

    I have a friend I need to confront but have put it off for a lonnnngggg time. I have felt really hurt by her for years and after the Holidays I just decided I’m going to ask her are we friends or not cause she blows me off all the time when I call her, leave her e-mails, etc. I can’t think of anything I did to upset her but if I did I sure would like to know.

  11. robinellablog says:

    I’m an avoider too, but have gotten more bold in old age. I don’t start them, but I’ll sure as heck finish them.

  12. Melanie says:

    I know where you’re coming from. I put off dealing with my passive aggressive then later openly hostile mother-in-law for 15 years. Both hubby and I got to the point where we had to deal with her behaviour and confront her about it. Not at all pleasant, but our children were being effected.
    Her responses were things like denial, sweeping under the carpet, threatening withdrawal of her “love”, tantrums, getting other family members to try to get us to back down, phoning our friends to get them to influence us, etc. We had to stay strong and “you have a choice on how to behave and you don’t want to change, so we have a choice too and have chosen not to accept your behaviour again”. This was 2 years ago and we have shut her out of our lives. It was the best thing we ever did but gosh it took a lot of guts and strength for us to do it. We’ve grown as a result.

  13. Debbie says:

    How very interesting all of your comments are. I guess it’s true. Feel the fear but do it anyway. Thanks for your candour. 🙂

  14. Emma says:

    God Debbie…we are frighteningly similar in some ways!

  15. G says:

    Good post Debbie. I am always so surprised when you say that you fear the confrontation, as I have experienced otherwise.
    I can relate to the carsalepeople fear. I really would rather work that negotiate for the price of a vehicle as I always feel ripped off. I’m lucky to have a f-i-l that just loves to do that kind of confrontation.
    I’m the lion type when it comes to my girl and will confront anyone and anywhere if there’s been some misunderstanding, which happens soemtimes with the translation of a six year old. No relationship is really worth more the protection of her.
    Whenever I deal with management, with their analyzing minds, I do get anxious because they hold my livelihood. I have a really good boss right now and I think I’m getting better at this.
    The one area that I don’t think I’ve conquered is the workmates confrontation. Especially realizing that people don’t always deal with the person that they have a problem with. They’ll gossip and may even report to management (see above point). You just don’t know all of the background and they may just hurt you, when you thought they were your friends.
    In an office is particularly bad. Confront someone and then you have to still work there. pick your battles is ever so important. It’ll be tense. ohhhh I really don’t like that.
    Talk to you later,
    G

  16. Shawn Price says:

    This was a great post! I am 22 yrs old and am embracing this “freeing realization” as well! Learning that it is freeing to speak my mind, be myself whether others like it or not. I am not saying that I don’t think before I speak or neglect to use Wisdom…but it’s true! You can’t please eveyone and confrontations and uncomfortable moments are the times that help you to grow up and “man up”. I hate being in those awkward moments, but man do they pay off! God Bless!

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