27 March 2011

sometimes silence is the better option

I have heard people say that they think that their life would be drastically improved with the addition of a soundtrack. A musical narrator, if you will.

I however, think that this is a terrible idea.

Music adds drama to a given situation. I am a dramatic person by nature. I think you see where this is going.

When I am upset with someone, I tend to wait it out for a bit. I am not a confrontational person. I try to avoid conflict at all costs. However, being who I am, I need to know exactly what happened so I can move on. Some people call it closure; other people call it beating a dead horse. Either way, I like to have rational conversations after the fact. Someone once told me that I handle conflict diplomatically. He also called me a robot, so I’m not sure whether it was a compliment or not.

But this strategy is already flawed. Instead of expressing myself at the relevant time (like when I actually feel the emotions), I wait. I wait until I am as close to calm as I can be. I use this time to write out everything that’s on my mind so that I remember every detail that I think is important, and gives me a guide in case I get distracted.

It seems like rationalizing would be effective in this scenario, especially for someone like me. If only it were that simple. Seeing what I write reminds of why I was upset in the first place, which then escalates my anger. I begin to seethe, writing increasingly more volatile things as I sit fuming. I convince myself that I’m right and the other person is wrong and how could someone be so ignorant and look how I have been wronged until I snatch up my piece of paper and head over to give that person a piece of my mind.

But the momentum of that rage wears off prematurely, no matter how hard I try to keep it going. I imagine epic scenes in which I deliver grand speeches to eloquently describe why the other person is a douchebag, usually about three to five minutes in length (with copious amounts of guilt-tripping, of course). I suppose my body can only handle a certain amount of malevolence, and immediately dissolves it once it crosses that threshold.

The emotional comedown generally occurs during my walk over. My clenched fist relaxes and I glance down at the crumpled, sweaty manifesto of anger. I realize that what I have written is probably not going to ameliorate the situation. Besides, even though most of what I have written is true, I no longer have the motivation to deliver that rage-induced speech.

I re-evaluate what I have written, crossing off irrelevant points or ones with particularly colorful language, then have the aforementioned rational conversation. I manage to say everything that I need to say without worrying that I might fly off the handle at any moment.

I take extra care to hide the piece of paper beforehand. Because I don’t want the other person to think I’m weird.

Imagine the above scenario set to music. Now you know why it’s not such a good idea after all.


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