Category Archives: Shared Secrets

Argument Aftermath

Address the Issue

 

communication dos and don'ts
Argument Aftermath

Dos

If you sweep things under the rug, eventually someone will trip over the lump.

In my experience, it is best to wait for the fire to die out before revisiting the source of the inferno.  For the passionate, this is not easy.

Be patient

It is all too tempting to hash it out, right there and then, while still flush from its heat.  Sometimes this can result in a hefty helping of the Silent Treatment; the heartburn kind.  Often, conflict is like an episode of Three’s Company; something or someone has been misunderstood or not completely transparent.  Purely open communication is

…the ability to fully express your perspective to your partner and, brace yourself, seeing things from your partner’s perspective.

It is best to wait until both parties are calm and ready to listen to revisit an issue.  The aftermath of an argument takes time.

 

argument aftermath communication dos
Argument Aftermath

Often couple`s therapists will use tools for listening like the ‘speaking rock.’ The person in possession of the rock is the only one allowed to talk. This means that the one without the lump of stone is to listen.  Corny! But it works.  If nothing else, a huge spotlight exposes how often we interrupt one another – especially when we don’t like what we are hearing.

I once read on Pinterest,

‘Most people do not listen with the intent to understand; they listen with the intent to reply.” Steven R. Covey

Something to think about the next time your partner is holding the rock.  If an apology is in order, and it probably is, see my article on apologies to better your approach.

Don’t

Do Not Use the Car.

Fight the urge to approach the ‘we should talk’ conversations when driving.  Why, you ask?

communication don't use the car
argument aftermath

You have a captive audience.  Literally, your partner is trapped with nowhere to go.  If they are not ready for this conversation or you are not abiding by the sharing rules of the speaking rock, you will land yourself in a bigger argument and possibly on the receiving end of the Silent Treatment.

Trust me on this.  Getting out of the car to walk is so clické, but young couples everywhere have been there.  Perhaps, it is their flair for the dramatic. But as we get older no one has time for walking (or the shoes because, let`s face it, these talks always happen when we are dressed up) and more often than not we are on the highway.

Avoid Tight Spaces

Even if you have all the best intentions and you promise yourself not to let the conversation become heated the odds are that it will blow up in your face.  Cornered animals tend to jump to the defensive. They turn rabid and snarl.  When strapped in and forced to start straight ahead there is nowhere for the anxious energy to go.  People need their space and freedom to truly express themselves, especially when threatened.  Body placement says a lot about what we are communicating; standing wagging a finger, sitting with crossed arms or even pacing are all conditioned ways to process and respond.  We pick these up in our childhood and they are our own coping mechanisms.

Not only does the trapped person need an outlet for this energy but it serves the partner well to bear witness.  We take greater cues from one another’s body language than words, especially from our partners.

When a driver is backed into a conversation and stopping is not an option, I promise you that they are visualizing pushing you out of the moving car.  Okay, if it was meant to be, they may drop you at the next corner even in their fantasy.

Regardless the mental message is the same; SHUT UP or GET OUT!

communication don't use the car
argument aftermath

But to avoid the drama that would certainly follow that scene, not to mention criminal charges, the driver may opt to white knuckle the rest of the drive.  They may pick up speed and begin to drive recklessly and erratically.  Do not kid yourself.  They are not distracted by the conversation.  They are trying to get home as fast as they can to get you the hell out of the car.

Recap

Do not confuse the passenger seat with a soapbox or the car with an interrogation room.  If…I mean when, an ugly conversation needs to take place, let it be somewhere that offers an escape.  At least at home, if a door has to slam, no one is left on the side of the road (in uncomfortable shoes).

 

Thirty something someday syndrome

Thirty-something someday syndrome
Thirty-something

 

Thirty is the new twenty! Who has not heard this, especially if the big 3-0 is on the horizon or if you careened by it in the last fifteen years?  Either way, this growing delusional trend allows us to prolong maturing, postpone responsibility and provides us with an excuse to remain noncommittal about life decisions.

 

‘It is a welcome suspension of time and a 30 pound load of crap!’

When I first started dating my now husband, I asked him, “When do you see yourself as a dad?” At the ripe age of 33, his answer was, “Maybe in 3 to 5 years.”  Easy for him to say, but that is another blog.

So, I bided my time. A few years later, I managed to obtain some rock solid commitment in the form of a diamond but not a date. Then, I waited and asked again. “When do you see yourself being a father?” What was his answer? Brace yourself. “Oh, I don’t know. In 3 to 5 years.”

I reminded him that he gave me that same answer 3 years ago. Did that mean he meant within the next 24 months? Or did the last 36 months not count?  It’s not that I was in a hurry to have a baby.  I was growing increasingly frustrated with…

“the wide spread aloofness among today’s young adults.”

Sadly, this is a group of which I was a member. This new relaxed attitude that time no longer matters irked the planner within me. It is what I started referring to as

…Thirty Something Someday Syndrome.

young adults suffer from thirty something someday syndrome
young adults

 

It is the right to put off big decisions and continue floundering around like an experienced teenager indefinitely. And to some extent, there are a lot of benefits.

  • Don’t rush to get out of school; Once you start working you will be working the rest of your life and you are less likely to return to class if you take a break.
  • Hold off from marrying your high school sweetheart. If you are meant to be you then you will still be together in 5 years. If not, you won’t have to be the ugly half of that divorce statistic and save yourself a boat load of legal fees and heartache.
  • Travel before settling down. You don’t need money to see the world, you need youth and imagination.

These cautionary words that encourage the delay of life altering choices are sound and make sense… for people under thirty.

30 something someday syndrome
Thirty something someday syndrome – suspended time

To those, over thirty, who have used this advice as…

“a crutch to dodge having to make big decisions and put off growing up”

…that need to listen up.

Now, I have yet to figure out how one develops a case of Thirty Something Someday Syndrome.    It could be based solely on an acute juvenile immaturity that lingers like a drunken buzz from your twenties.  It could also be a genuine unawareness of age based expectations. If the latter is true, then maybe it was instilled within

Thirty something someday syndrome
Thirty something someday syndrome

us by our parents whom perhaps felt rushed to become adults by being thrown into careers, marriage or parenting in their early twenties.  Unfortunately, by not setting some age related goals, ideals and responsibility they have (in some cases) stunted the growth of their own children. The fact that the number of thirty something children still living in their parent’s basement is on the increase kind of proves this point.

Gone are the days that one is expected to get married right out of high school.   The term ‘cougar’ has replaced ‘spinster’ and a new mom at forty is more common than one at twenty-two.  This is progress. Approaching forty without having to make one major decision in your life is not cutting edge independence – you are simply dragging your feet.

Do you suffer from Thirty Something Someday Syndrome?

Thirty something someday syndrome - time is slipping
Thirty something someday syndrome – time is slipping

 

If so, time to move out, put a ring on it or start shopping for strollers. Do whatever it is that you are afraid of doing and maybe, you might just become a real life adult. Cease the day! Or, before you know if you will be closer to fifty than thirty and life will have passed you by.

RSVP, Damn It!

RSVP

…an old tired custom…

For everyone who has ever been brave enough to organize an event, whether it be as intimate as tea or involved as a wedding, I appreciate your tenacity to follow through despite the slow demise of social etiquette upon us today.  Will the RSVP be phased out because it is simply ignored by far too many?  Will it be an old tired custom that will be abandoned like the curtsy or holding the door for another? Not if I have anything to say about it.

Let’s for a moment believe that there is a confusion with the translation.  One of the first acronyms of our time, RSVP stands for répondez, s’il vous plaît, Yes, it is French.

The exact translation is ‘respond if you please.’

Perhaps, this is the cornerstone of the debate.  “If you please,” is subject to explanation.  This does not mean if you want to. Quite simply, if you please is a polite way of saying ‘please’ in French.  Sometimes the most accurate translation is not the correct one. For instance, in German, hunger is a state to which one belongs to, so, they say ‘I have hunger’ but, the true English translation is ‘I am hungry.’  This rule applies with RSVP. Respond if you please simply means, ‘please answer.’
Or, like many hosts will secretly be chanting as the impending date encroaches,

….”Reply, damn it!”

This does not mean reply only if you are attending or only if you are not attending.  This means reply, respond, answer in person, by phone, by text or by email no matter what.  Announce your intentions even if it is the ever non-committal, maybe! It is the very least you can do when someone has gone to the trouble of planning an event and has been so kind to consider you as a worthy guest.

… Our ethics are being compromised with every fragmented and micro human connection we make.

By responding, the host can accurately accommodate the number of guests expected. That way they can avoid waste or worse, not having enough food or amenities for everyone.  Oh, just so you know, everyone who has ever hosted anything…ever, just shuttered unanimously at the thought of running out of provisions.
Unfortunately, I believe that this growing trend of not ‘RSVP’ing is the root of a far bigger problem.

Our social accountability is depleting rapidly in this high-speed world we have created.

With the click of the mouse, we are able to scan images and messages with no real appreciation for the effort, time or individual responsible for the content.  Our ethics are being compromised with every fragmented and micro human connection we make.
Let me give you an example.  How is it appropriate to click ‘like’ on a Facebook status that illustrates someone struggling or announces the passing of a loved one?  If you don’t have time to write a few genuine words of support or condolences, please resist the urge to click ‘like.’  This is about basic human respect, appreciation, and empathy.   There seems to be a shared avoidance to commit or be responsible. With every click of the mouse or swipe of the screen, we are dismissive with expediency.   Which brings us back to the RSVP. Please respond. When someone has sent you an invite, especially when it comes through the mail, has a real postmark or is hand delivered, allot them the common, quickly proving to be not-so common, courtesy of answering them.

  There seems to be a shared avoidance to commit or be responsible. With every click of the mouse or swipe of the screen, we are dismissive with remarkable expediency.

Which brings us back to the RSVP. Please respond. When someone has sent you an invite, especially when it comes through the mail, has a real postmark or is hand delivered, allot them the common, quickly proving to be not-so common, courtesy of answering them.

Which brings us back to the RSVP. Please respond. When someone has sent you an invite, especially when it comes through the mail, has a real postmark or is hand delivered, allot them the common, quickly proving to be not-so common, courtesy of answering them.
Small human decencies are fading out of existence at a startling rate because we are too busy and so connected to the entire world that we loose sight of our immediate surroundings.  The RSVP holds us to a higher standard of accountability. Rise to it because thanks to social media even ‘RSVP’ing is as effortless as clicking a response.

The Secret of the Centre Stall

 …..Let us poop in peace please….

Sometimes keeping up with the neurosis of being a woman is just too much.  I have enough on my plate without feeling the familiar rise of anxiety and insecurity when using the ladies room. ladies As a mother of a little girl, I am doing my best to curb these shared experiences of irrational modesties and needless embarrassments.  The problem is not only that we put these pressures upon ourselves. It is that we also refuse to sympathize with those suffering. It could be argued that this internal commotion is socially constructed or deeply rooted in old fashion upbringings. Regardless it is a well known, shared and understood and we do nothing to change it.

…..stupid hang-ups that denied my generation…..

When I look back to my adolescence, at a time when I was innocent and as flawless as I was ever going to be, I am infuriated with locker room behaviors and decisions.  None of us girls sneered or snickered at one another. We were all too busy covering up and facing the wall when changing our clothes. Making eye contact let alone speaking to one another was out of the question. It is only decades later that I realize that

…this was a collective panic and fear of criticisms and judgement.

I hope my daughter’s generation is stronger, smarter and are able to reject such stupid hang-ups that denied my generation the courage to shower after grade nine gym.  Think about it.  All 25 of us refused basic hygiene as a way to avoid full nudity in a locker room full of other girls with the exact same anxieties.  How bloody ridiculous is our gender?

  Meanwhile, the boys are floundering around buck naked engaging in horseplay and literal sword fights on the other side of the cinder block wall.  Can I get a what the hell?  Unfortunately, this asinine dichotomy follows us out of high school and right into adulthood.
Where I work, there are three stalls in the women’s wash room.  If one uses the guy code of urinal selection, no one should ever use the facilities in the middle.  Who wants neighbors? Given that theory, the stall in the center should always have bathroom tissue and be the cleanest. I can only assume this folklore to be true for I never use door number two.  But if women are neurotic about their nudity than natural bodily functions catapults that same anxiety into a realm of incomparable insanity.
  It irritates me to no end when I slip into the soundless rest room to only find a closed stall door whose occupant is obviously trying to go unnoticed.  Seriously, I mean they don’t move.  Except for their feet, the wad of clothing bunched up on their shoes and (on occasion) the not so pleasant odor that one would (sorry should) expect in a bathroom, the person in the stall is absolutely still and quiet.

Only a woman could stop in mid-movement to prevent being embarrassed…

by her own bodily sounds, smells…function.  Like I don’t know what she is doing in there.  What’s more, I don’t care.  Why do we do this?  Unfortunately, I am no better.  The food court, ten flights down, has a full public wash room; one with two long aisles of stalls. It is almost as if the first bank is designated ‘express’ and the second for, let’s say high maintenance. It is like a dream that’s only 10 stories, 2 escalators, and a half an underground block away.
   On those days that I happen to pop into the ladies room on my floor and there is a poor soul pretending the be invisible, mercifully I act as if she is.  stallOkay, that is not exactly true.  In fact, I usually respect her efforts to go unnoticed and do what I can to avert stage fright, up my PSI, wash my hands as quickly as possible and leave.  I do not do my hair, file my nails or apply lipstick.  What I don’t understand is why some women feel the need to chat or lounge around.  It is one thing to do that when you are in the wash room alone, I mean really alone.  It is another thing to stand around when you know there is someone sitting behind a closed stall. She is probably holding her breath waiting for you to get the hell out so that she can unburden herself.  Why do women torture one another like this?  I am not saying that it is rational for someone to be embarrassed while in a washroom, but we all know where that comes from.  Hell, who hasn’t heard that you should always wear clean underwear in case you get hit by a bus?
 …Is your underwear clean in case you get hit by a bus?
This was something a grandmother would say. Imagine how horrible it would be for the doctor or nurse to cut your blood soaked clothes from your mangled body to find dirty bloomers?  It did not matter that if you were actually hit by a bus that you would surely poop yourself anyway.  What matters is that you are always proper even at a time when being proper should be your last priority.

…comes down to building confidence, silencing judgement and prioritising our values.

  Point being, these warped insecurities, regardless where they stem from, will hopefully phase out eventually.  Until then, be kind, don’t linger.  Why would you want to be putting on makeup or brushing your teeth when someone only five feet away is doing what we all would like a little privacy doing?  Even my dog gives me that pleading ‘don’t look at me’ glance when I happen to catch his eye when he’s crouching.  Let us poop in peace, please.  We will address the irrational modesties and needless embarrassments by teaching our girls to be stronger and smarter.  It all comes down to building confidence, silencing judgment and prioritizing our values.

Apology

An Apology is a Promise

When you make an apology you are actually promising that, if given the opportunity to do it over, you would do it differently.

noU

An apology has two parts…

and includes two ‘I‘s. I am sorry that I… The first part is the admission and the second is the accountability.  The second ‘I‘ is the most important.  ‘I’m sorry that your feelings are hurt.’ Is not an apology and “I’m sorry that I hurt your feelings,’ is.

An apology should never contain the word ‘but’ either, because ‘but’ implies contradiction or it is flat-out dismissive. According to Dr. Phil ‘but’ means forget everything I just said. That goes for although and however too.

The weight of an apology is based solely on the impact your words or actions have on another person or party. You don’t apologize to absolve yourself of guilt or blame it is an affirmation of apathy that helps someone else’s healing.

Let’s say you bump into a random shopper at the mall. You weren’t looking, either were they and the two of you collide. Other than the obvious startle, no harm has been done to either you or the stranger. Socially balanced people say sorry, maybe even excuse me and go on their way. But what if that same bump causes them to drop their fragile parcel or they are sent off kilter and fall down a flight of stairs? Then this would warrant a greater apology unless of course, you are the kind of person who would dart away as quickly as possible.  In which case I have no idea why you are even bothering to read this because the likelihood of you apologizing or being accountable for anything is slim and I hope that you are wealthy and have a good lawyer.

The point is that the bump on your part did not change. The outcome forced upon the stranger did. Ergo, the apology is dependent on their experience, not yours.

It’s like the law of cheating. You are not governed by your own law but the law of your partner. If my husband does not feel that an online affair is cheating but I do (please note my deliberate use of ‘but’), my husband does not get to have an online affair.  Well, not if he wants to stay married to me that is. It is simple. It’s about respecting someone else’s boundaries and honoring them.

When you add a ‘but’ to an apology you are explaining why you did what you did. This will more often than not come across as an excuse or a way of casting blame onto the one you have wronged. This, therefore, makes the apology redundant especially if you failed to assume any responsibility.

Lastly, if you are not sorry and do not care how your words or actions affect others, then do not apologize.   Avoid sounding disingenuous or worse sounding like the compassionate person you are not. Instead, be true to the tar hole you are and ignore the basic human response of remorse after hurting another. Perhaps take the short survey on…

‘Am I a Sociopath?’

 

On the other hand, you have no control over whether your apology will be accepted.  If it is not, please point said person in the direction of this article and let them know that their response has hurt your feelings.

So let us recap. Three steps to a solid proper apology.

1- Admission ‘I am sorry’…. Followed immediately by

2- Accountability …’that I’ (insert violation here)

3- That’s it! No buts!