I recently heard two things that intrigued me. Both were connected with how to deal with those little (or not so little) spats, tiffs, altercations, debates, arguments, disagreements, showdowns, ummmm... I'm out. Fighting.
First of all, I watched a Ze Frank video (note: he's hilarious and a genius and his voice is awesome but not all of his stuff is like...kiddo friendly...) wherein he had a list of rules on fair fighting. His point was, fighting isn't necessarily bad, if you can do it right and be productive through it. The rules that I liked were:
- No cussing at people in anger. Now, most of us would probably say don't cuss in general, but especially don't cuss at the people you love when you're angry with them. You may think you're totally cool and down with people using non-kiddo-friendly vocabulary, but when used in anger, it really does cut you.
- Try not to make huge generalizations for drama's sake. "You always are the biggest jerk ever and all you care about is yourself and you never ever listen to me!" . Statements like that are rarely helpful, and pretty much never accurate.
- Don't threaten to leave as a manipulative tool, because over time it'll a.) become totally cheap and they won't care when you b.) do leave. Keep your eye on the ball. If you're in something for the long haul, don't act like you maybe-kinda-sorta-aren't, or you'll find yourself focusing on all the wrong things.
- Do you promise not to discuss your frustrations with other members with people who are not a.) part of the problem or b.) part of the solution? I love this! How many times have I been dragged down into disliking someone simply because one of my other friends didn't get on so smoothly with them? I hate the feeling of being turned against someone, and the power struggles of loyalty and gossip can just create crater fields in any organization, whether it's a church, family, or business. You can talk to the person who's offending you, sure, and try to work it out. If that doesn't work, you can definitely take it to the appropriate authorities (part of the solution), but don't go around ranting to people with whom you and the offender have mutual contact.