TYPICAL CONFRONTATION: Two Guys
“Dude…um, what you said was really messed up.”
“Wha? What did I say?”
“You know [insert quote here]…”
“Oh, man. I had no idea! Didn’t mean anything by it.”
“Yeah, well, it caused some shit.”
“Hey, I’m really sorry. We good?”
“Yeah, buy me a beer. We’re good. Thanks.”
TYPICAL CONFRONTATION: Two Women
“Hey, um…What you said the other day?”
“What…what did I say?”
“You know [insert quote here]…”
*defensive* “Well, what about it?”
“Well, that kinda hurt and now people aren’t talking to me and – “
“Well, what do you want me to do about it?” (Note: She may also try to bring in other people’s names or change the subject at this time).
“I just wanted you to know that it wasn’t true and why would you say that?”
“Well, maybe you should talk to so and so and – “
“No, you should talk to ME not – “
“I gotta go. Later!”
*starts Tweeting* “OMG, guess who just…”
“Hey, what you said the other day really hurt.”
“Oh my God, I’m so sorry! I didn’t mean to hurt you.”
*relieved* “Oh, really? Oh, thank you! Oh I knew wouldn’t do that to me.”
“Of COURSE not!!” *hugs* “I’m so glad you told me.”
“Great — me, too! Thank you. Thank you so much!”
*second she’s out of sight, starts Tweeting* “OMG, guess who just…”
Yes, the title is sexist and I’m sorry.
It is generalizing and assumptive, but truth be told, in my many travels and experiences, I have found that men, regardless how you may feel about them, seem to have this one thing down that women just simply cannot grasp. Women on the whole, usually find confrontation a much scarier prospect than men do and that’s no accident.
Communication is key to life. How you obtain your needs, how you relate to others, how everything comes into being starts with strong communication. And unfortunately, it’s a skill that seems to be lacking as time and tech goes on. And as long as you are alive, you need to communicate. And as long as you communicate, there will be disagreements. And disagreements can cause a house of cards or a 10-ton tower to fall if you don’t handle with care.
Why women generally hate confrontation:
1 – Women Are Taught To Be Seen, Not Heard. Women are usually discouraged from using assertive communication skills because we were designated to have the sexual upper-hand in the breeding process. Humans are one of the few species where the female is required to be more colorful and flamboyant in order to attract a mate. In the workplace, studies have proven that men are more encouraged to use aggressive tactics to get a raise, while bosses prefer women to be more “agreeable.” (http://www.artofmanliness.com/2008/02/17/how-to-ask-for-and-get-a-raise-like-a-man/ & http://www.forbes.com/sites/dailymuse/2013/06/17/why-women-must-ask-the-right-way-negotiation-advice-from-stanfords-margaret-a-neale/ ) Confrontation requires truth to be spoken about an issue and therefore takes initiative – a skill that women are most likely left to learn on their own.
2 – Women Tend To Be Less Secure. We’re under pressure to be liked, attractive, make others look good, bring home the bacon, fry it up, get a spouse, have a career, please the spouse, walk in heels, make healthy babies, whatever. We face praise and chastisement with every choice we make with our bodies and our lives. With all of these expectations, we are bombarded by media showing us “how it’s done.” Fashion and home magazines are not just vehicles to deliver ideas, but subconsciously, they’re feeding us “right” or “wrong” ways to do things. When we find our behaviors are consistent with others’ expectations, we have a better sense of confidence. So, if others are expecting us to be seen and not heard (see point number 1), we simply tend to be less confrontational.
3 – Women Tend To Be More Afraid To Be Alone. We’re expected to attract a mate. But, when we don’t, we usually see ourselves as failures. We’re spoon-fed fantasies like “soul mate” and “twin flame” in self-help and other media without the disclaimer that these concepts are Disney dreams. Western and monotheistic traditions dictate that the man is the provider, so those brought up in traditional households frown upon their daughters as not having one. So to many women, being alone is frightening concept that can lead to depression, anxiety, and other disorders. Having a disagreement can easily lead to unpopularity and alienation…
4 – And because women tend to be more afraid to be alone, Women Tend To Seek Back-Up Before Facing a Confrontation. When you’re in a conflict with a woman, it’s usually not just with her. It’s also with her family, her friends, her “sistahs” – you get the gist. Why? Because, she’s less secure and afraid to be alone. So, naturally, she’s going to make sure that she has that security blanket if things go awry. She is going to look for validation, “Am I right? Don’t you agree? It’s not just me, is it?” And she will usually start the networking process by publicly voicing her displeasure directly or indirectly on social media, making phone calls, making passive-aggressive comments on online updates or feeds to see who might take the bait and agree with her, and perhaps becoming more social than normal.
Men generally don’t have those obstacles; so therefore, they don’t really have anything to fear or to lose by calling someone out. Outside of gang mentality, they tend to recognize that the issue is a mono-e-mono affair. So, they say, “What’s up,” throw a few figurative or literal punches, get it out of their system, and call it done. And there is no reason in the world why women can’t do the same!
The whole point and purpose of confrontation is to resolve a problem. The desire to resolve a problem is an act of love. It is an act of care, not callousness. So, when someone calls you out, they are saying you have an effect on them and vice-versa. What you said or did made an impact and it’s a wonderful opportunity to learn, to grow, and to become stronger either on your own or with the other person. It is a chance to develop trust, exert boundaries, and practice better communication skills for other challenges in other aspects of your life.
Conflict doesn’t have to be loud, ugly, unkind, or hurtful. You can disagree with someone with respect, care, and confidence if you’re willing to listen to understand, not listen for your queue to speak. If you do not enjoy or cannot handle being around people who disagree, if you cannot handle making mistakes or being wrong, and if you cannot handle being alone, then that is on you. Those issues are from your own lack of self-confidence, your own ego, and no one can solve them but you.
Communication is an art, a process, and a gift. Doing it right can bring peace, love, empowerment, prosperity, and joy. Doing it with obfuscation, defensiveness, and ego can manifest your fears. You don’t need proof that you’re justified or that your feelings are validated. So, the next time someone steps over your boundaries, maybe just try putting down the Smartphone, pull them aside, and say, “Hey, do you have a minute? I have a problem, you’re important, and I’d really like to fix this…”