Though I am aware that it is the day before the day before Christmas, this post is not about that.
Though it could be, because this is definitely the least-Christmassy I’ve ever felt. I don’t have any presents for anybody; I’m not expecting to get many presents and, most importantly, my mom and I will be spending our Christmas together while everyone else in the family gathers at my dad’s parent’s house.
I guess this is befitting in a way, since 2010 seems to have unofficially become The Year That Challenged My Notions About Everything In Life. Of course I would be spending this Christmas with few presents and fewer family members–those are the two things that Christmas brought to me; they’re the reasons I got excited about this time of year.
Now it’s December 23 and I’m sitting here surrounded by no cousins and no smells of food and no Christmas music and there no accusations of cheating at card games being flung about and no little kids are climbing up my legs and I’m not really sad about it, but it’s just kind of like…so then what’s Christmas?
But like I said,
This post isn’t about that.
In the same vein of All of My Notions About Everything Being Challenged, I have recently encountered a situation where I’ve had to deal head-on with the different communication styles of other people.
I don’t know how I managed to live my life so long without having this conversation (so to speak), but I have, to this point, pretty much always been around people who are direct in their communication styles.
On the playground, I found the kids who had absolutely no problem telling me they didn’t like the way I pronounced my “r”s in words like “refrigerator” (I swear to goodness, kids will freaking find anything to tease you about). As a teenager, I found the ones who unhesitatingly pointed out that though I drew a moustache on for opposite day (who remembers spirit week?), I definitely didn’t need to (tactful). Even in my work environments, I have, for some strange and charmed reason, found people who have been trustworthy and straight-talking (the workplace is actually where I’ve found most of my best friends, a phenomenon that I am now being told is pretty rare).
Basically, by the way I was raised and the places I’ve lived, direct communication is considered a virtue. It gives you the opportunity to address problems head on, while they are still small, and devise strategies to fix them with little-to-no-damage to the relationships of the parties involved. You have an issue, you deal with it, you get over it. Bada bing, bada boom.
I guess one of the crazy things about life is the way we’re all raised to think of our “way” as the best (and/or only) way. My “way” of communication is the best (and/or only) way of communication, for example. But the thing is that there are billions of people on this planet, and nearly all of them are walking around thinking that their ways of being are the best (and/or only) ways of being. And so you run into these situations from time to time where there is no best (and/or only) way of handling things, there’s only the way you would have handled it and the way another person handles them.
You never realize as a child how often you are just not going to get your way in adult life. The longer I live, the more thoroughly I am convinced that ego is incredibly damaging to a person’s life and well-being. When you’re a kid, you think it’s normal to call a guy gay because he’s not interested in you, or to collectively point out other people’s flaws. You think it’s normal to get hopping mad because your parents told you to tell them where you were going and to call if you were going to be late (gah! It’s like I can’t do ANYTHING without being under their thumb!). It’s not normal though–it’s ego. And just wait until every day of your life involves little teeny challenges to your ego as you find your way being pitted against the ways of others and you have to decide whether it’s more important to you to feed your ego or feed your stomach.
A little while ago, I was told that my attempts to facilitate open and direct communication could be seen as confrontational to the people with whom I was attempting to fix a communication issue.
Imagine my surprise.