Let’s get right to the point. I cannot stand confrontation.
The idea of having to actually address someone who hurt my feelings about it? No thanks! Having someone call me out? Gives me nightmares!
I have always hated and avoided confrontation because it makes me extremely uncomfortable. And at the surface, that might not seem like a bad thing. Why? Well, maybe it means you’re just a peaceful person. Or you let things roll off your shoulders easily.
Those may be true, but there are also a lot of serious consequences of avoiding confrontation because it makes you uncomfortable. The biggest one, for me, is resentment.
Avoiding confrontation has caused me numerous issues in the past. Usually, I’m pretty easygoing with family and friendships. But there have been times where I have been hurt, and I didn’t tell the person. What happened? Much bigger problems that could have been completely avoided had I only said “Hey, what you did hurt my feelings” or “Hey, what did you mean by that?” Instead, I brooded silently and didn’t stand up for myself.
I’ll provide an example. A few years ago, right after I got engaged, I began messaging tons of family and friends to get their addresses for invites and save-the-dates. Everybody, but one person, replied to me within a day or two. This former friend just ignored my text. I decided to give her some time. A few days. A week. Then two weeks went by, and still, nothing. I was astounded because only a few weeks prior, she had taken me out to dinner to talk about my engagement. I was hurt, confused, and upset that she couldn’t take five seconds to send me her address for an obvious request that had to do with my wedding. Especially since I saw her posting on social media.
A month or so went by, and after initially thinking I just wouldn’t invite her, I reached out again and she replied within minutes. So I sent her a save-the-date. But, because I hadn’t addressed that she’d upset me, I was still resentful. Ultimately, we had spacing issues with the venue and had to invite last-minute extended family, so I didn’t end up inviting her and I let her know in the nicest way I possibly could.
Was I mean for doing that? Yeah, I think so. But the root cause of this was me avoiding confrontation. I completely mishandled the situation because I couldn’t be honest at the beginning. As you can probably surmise, we haven’t spoken in over two years and aren’t friends anymore.
I’ve learned valuable lessons from that situation, and I have learned that staying silent to avoid confrontation is detrimental. Now, if someone upsets me, I am inclined to address it then and there. If someone says something untrue or hurtful, I speak up in the most civil way I can. If in a professional situation something would be bad for me, I stand up for myself.
And I feel a lot better about it.
If you’re like me, confronting people isn’t easy. But in some instances, you really have to in order to avoid larger issues down the road. Take my example. If I had taken a moment to try and speak with this friend at the beginning, we might still be friends.
Don’t go seeking confrontation. But get comfortable with it, because life isn’t always golden.