My conflict resolution skills are seriously lacking. When people disagree with me or criticize me, it really pisses me off. I work as a Business Analyst – my job is basically to analyze our company’s data and make recommendations to improve our profits. I’m excellent at what I do. My insightful recommendations are always accurate. When I present my ideas at meetings, I only want my co-workers to like me, respect my intelligence, and acknowledge that I’m right. This doesn’t always happen, though. Often some dim-witted colleagues will inexplicably criticize my ideas or disagree with my recommendations. On an intellectual level, I know that criticism and disagreement are natural, healthy, and helpful. Yet when I’m confronted with conflict I get indignant, defensive, angry, and violent. I can’t believe that people would dare to disagree with me – I want to yell at them and punch them in the nose, fill their mouths with their own blood to make them shut the hell up. It’s getting harder to contain my anger. One of these days I’m bound to explode on my unsuspecting colleagues. Help me!
Don’t Criticize Chris
Dear Don’t Criticize Chris,
You take yourself WAY too seriously. I don’t doubt that you’re a smart man, but I know for a fact that you’re not always right. Shocking as it may be for you to hear, you don’t know everything. Actually, there’s a hell of a lot more that you don’t know than what you do know. So don’t pretend you know it all.
You need to get over yourself. Don’t worry so much about people liking you or respecting you, and certainly don’t expect them to validate your own overblown self-image. Instead, you should go out of your way to adopt the opposite mindset: act in ways that make people dislike you and think you’re stupid. When you intentionally solicit this type of reaction from people, you’ll grow accustomed to facing disagreement and criticism. Here are some things you can do:
- Eat a bunch of tacos, enter a crowded elevator, and freely release some farts. You’ll be quite an unpopular passenger.
- When walking down the street, ask random passers-by for directions to the building you’re standing in front of. They’ll pity your stupidity.
- While driving on the highway, cut people off and then drive super slow in front of them. This will provoke a flurry of honks, curses, and flipped birds.
- Perform horrible poetry at an Open Mic Night. For example, recite a haiku about neutering your dog: Castrate man’s best friend/ Once spry, now melancholy/ Missing his scrotum. Or perhaps another haiku, an ode to the beauty of pregnancy: Expecting mother/ Belly round, breasts full of milk/ I want to bang you. You’ll almost certainly be booed off the stage.
Once you can calmly subject yourself to these types of volatile and embarrassing situations without losing your cool, you’ll have no problem dealing with the disagreements and criticisms of your piddling co-workers. And you may even develop a small sense of humbleness.
Peace, Love, and Bravely Facing Criticism,