Here I was; nineteen and head over heels in love with a guy I secretly believed was better looking and smarter than I was. The last thing I wanted to do was rock the boat in our relationship. So, for months, I bit my tongue when I was annoyed by things that he did (was late, “teased” a little too much, changed plans at the last minute).
Of course, this is – and was – a recipe for disaster. Sooner or later, there would be a straw that would break my camel’s back and out it would come – every frustration, irritation and annoyance that I had held in. Temporarily, I would feel such relief, as if I were purging myself of all the pent-up emotion that had been weighing me down. Unfortunately, the fall-out from this barrage would confirm my worst fears; 1) that standing up for myself might do irreparable damage to my relationship and 2) that I would wind up apologizing – and “being wrong” – for taking up for myself.
Don’t Sabotage Yourself
If you’re uncomfortable with conflict, as many of us are, it can be hard to muster the courage to tackle a difficult topic. This can result in a vicious cycle; our discomfort leads us to communicate in a way that guarantees we’ll fail, confirming our worst fears about interpersonal conflict. We’ll talk about ways to resolve an argument in future posts; here’s a tongue-in-cheek look at ways to guarantee you won’t.
The Bottom Line
English novelist Joseph Conrad said, “He who wants to persuade should put his trust not in the right argument, but in the right word. The power of sound has always been greater than the power of sense.” And , all too often, the wrong words carry more weight than the truth.