Monday, April 02, 2007

Mad Dan

When was the last time someone was mad at you? When was the last time you were mad at someone? It seems like it is almost always a result of mis-communication and a lack of understanding. So, when you realize there is a rift between you and someone you care about, what do you do? Do you talk it out and reach for co-understanding, and mutually assume responsibility for your roles in the debacle? Or, is it better to sit back and listen to someone vent, letting them believe everything that they think, without giving them the opportunity to listen to your perspective... not making anyone right or wrong, but just realizing that no one acted viciously or thoughtlessly, no intention on hurting anyone else?
There's a lot of debate here at home on this issue. I agree there are times to sit back and listen, and not offer explanations that sound like defensive reasons why you acted or behaved in a particular way. That's fine when you have a very small investment in the relationship. What about the times when you do have an investment, a commitment, to a person or a relationship? What if you acted, perhaps badly in retrospect, in what seemed an appropriate manner given the circumstances? Who really decides when it matters if you share what happened or not? Does it strengthen the relationship when you sit back, politely nodding your head and agreeing that the other party has been emotionally injured? I've tried it both ways. I've tried sitting back and assuming responsibility for the slight I have inadvertently caused someone without offering why I behaved a certian way, and it has not made my relationship with that person any better, or worse. I've tried explaining my perspective and thought process leading up to a behavior or action, and that hasn't made a situation better or worse either. So, in the long run, it seems better to let things lie where they are... and then they wonder why I am careful around them... and I can't tell them because they don't want to hear it.
Was Mad Dan just irritated and angry? Or is Mad Dan mentally ill?

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