Conflict Resolution for Wusses

Discussion in 'General Advice' started by tinyhydra, Mar 23, 2015.

  1. tinyhydra

    tinyhydra a dingus

    So, I tend to nope out of conflict as soon as things get rough, even if I firmly believe I am in the right or that I have a point that has a reason to be stated. Perhaps in an attempt to justify my own cowardice, I usually have a fucking awful rush of self-loathing after an argument, even if it never got far enough to be considered an actual conflict and was resolved quickly and amicably. So, I just told myself I ought to go die for being obnoxious and argumentative. All I did was point out some questions I had with a person's criteria for a story/rp-type thing. Their rules are entirely unstated, and I said that it might be nice if they'd critique the example character they put up so people could figure out what exactly they wanted, and they told me I was coming across as pointlessly hostile, and now I'm acting like an idiot.
    In short, how do I trick myself into not beating myself up over this kind of thing?
    And general tips for how to avoid coming across as argumentative, I suppose?
     
  2. kmoss

    kmoss Under Construction

    I would totally ask them how I was coming across as pointlessly hostile, but I am the type of person who, once I get into an argument, we are in it for the long haul. Sometimes my need to win can piss people off, and validly so.

    For this, it sounds like you're in the right. Unfortunately, being in the right doesn't always mean that you win at arguing.
    Most conversations are, basically, arguments. One point is brought up, conflicts with another point, hopefully some explanation of points or a decent compromise is reached. I feel like some people miss the last part - and that definitely includes me - because we get our sense of personal self worth all tangled up in "I have to be right all the time because otherwise I don't know anything and also I am a terrible human being"

    So, here is me, some random stranger on the Internet, saying, this is not correct. You're still a pretty decent person despite whether or not you win at arguments. You're still a decent person even if you come off as argumentative. And, not gonna lie, I feel like enough people online are aware of the fact that many people are really worried about sounding argumentative that they frequently use that to make people back off and feel bad about disagreeing with them.

    If I am worried about sounding argumentative or needlessly mean, I will reread what I have written a few times, and if I'm really worried about a turn of phrase, I'll poke one of my friends and say "hey, do I sound like an asshole in this?" and I am lucky enough to have enough friends that I can use as a sounding board for that.

    And, just so you know, everyone's obnoxious or argumentative at some point in their lives, and luckily, I don't think any country has instituted the death penalty for that. So clearly some people think that you're ok.

    I don't know I've actually answered anything in this, but you can definitely ask me more questions if I said something that doesn't scan.
     
    • Like x 1
  3. rigorist

    rigorist On the beach

    That's not argument--that's just insult. Well, OK, insults are often an argumentative tool, but still. . . .

    In this case, insult is being used as a tool to distract from your quasi-question of "What are the rules, here?" James Herndon, debate coach at Emory, called all these distraction tactics, "cat poop". One of the keys to winning or even just keeping up in most arguments is to ignore the cat poop. Don't get distracted. You have a question--keep asking it until either you get an answer or the other person says flat out they won't answer it.
     
    • Like x 3
  4. anon person

    anon person actually a cat

    huh. i get a rush of self-loathing after i extract myself from a disagreement, too, but i haven't figured out how to stop it.

    if it helps at all, i get that feeling the most when the person i was disagreeing with starts acting like ... well, like what you described up there, telling you that you were "coming across as pointlessly hostile". i may be wrong, and i don't know if that was a direct quote, but what i'm seeing is them telling you that they think you're being stupid (pointlessly) and rude and mean (hostile) and to top it off they've given themselves a nice little out with "coming across as" - that way they can't be accused of having accused you of anything, because all they're doing is making a claim about their feelings about your actions.

    basically, from what i can tell, they are being very nasty in a way meant to protect them from any repercussions. so you may be feeling awful because they were being awful to you.
     
  5. kmoss

    kmoss Under Construction

    Yes, and chances are that they are doing this on purpose. No, they may not be intending specifically to spiral you into anxiety, but their main goal is to get you to stop asking them questions that may make them look bad, or make them have to think about how they interact with people.

    If you get that flood of shame or self-loathing after an argument like this, follow it up with something like "no, I'm not bad, I'm just disagreeing. I am allowed to disagree with people. I am allowed to tell them so. I'm allowed to do this because we are both people and I deserve respect, just like they do."
    or something like that. Cuz it's true, bro.
     
    • Like x 2
  6. tinyhydra

    tinyhydra a dingus

    To be fair to them, I gave them that out. I had the feeling that I was annoying them but wasn't certain, so i straight up told them that I wasn't well equiped to tell if I was being an irritant. And they did answer the questions I had. The words they used were "hostile" and "arguing for arguements sake", and that came after I made the suggestion that they could write some words on what exactly about their example character sheet people were supposed to be imitating.
     
  7. kmoss

    kmoss Under Construction

    That doesn't sound a lot like arguing, honestly. At worst, it sounds like "giving a well-meaning suggestion that isn't needed".
     
    • Like x 1
  8. rigorist

    rigorist On the beach

    Argument for argument's sake is what I do. Seriously, I coach high school debate.
     
    • Like x 2
  9. anon person

    anon person actually a cat

    the fact that they went straight for your weak spot after you showed it to them isn't really a point in their favor. and if i had to hand the "most hostile" award to one of you based on the information here, it wouldn't be the person who asked an authority for clarification, it would be the authority who jumped at the chance to characterize requesting information as "hostile" and "arguing for arguments sake".

    people do tend to get defensive about things they've created, and there's that saying about the best defense being a good offense (or is it the other way around, i can't remember). overall the behavior you've described still looks to me like an attempt to shut you down.
     
  10. Ink

    Ink Well-Known Member

    Yep. It's cap poop and it's not even in your own litter box.
     
    • Like x 1
  11. tinyhydra

    tinyhydra a dingus

    It's really not that bad, I don't think. I kind of feel like I must be representing it wrong. I'm not exactly a neutral observer of this conflict. And, well, it's not like it's an organized, formal thing. I get the feeling that it's a super casual thing and that my comments were unwelcome just cause they were making it more complicated than it needed to be.
    Though I suppose it's a touch worrisome how anxious it's making me to have all y'all come down on my side.
     
  12. An Actual Bird

    An Actual Bird neverthelass, Brid persisted, ate third baggel

    Well, you're not wrong that without all the context we can only go by how you're representing it, but ... Unless your actual comments were a lot more caustic than you're letting on (which doesn't sound too likely, but I'll admit the possibility), it definitely sounds like they're the one who escalated this into a needless argument. In terms of 'how to avoid coming across as argumentative', responding to gentle criticism with 'STOP BEING SO HOSTILE' is a pretty good example of what not to do.

    As for 'how to trick yourself into not beating yourself up' ... er, if you work it out, let me know? I get that way too.
     
    • Like x 3
  13. wixbloom

    wixbloom artcute

    Fave techniques to not beating yourself up:

    1. Imagine your best friend telling you what you just told us. Do you think your best friend is a horrible person?

    2. Imagine a role reversal in the conflict scene. Someone asked you questions about rules and you reacted like the guy you "argued" with did. Would you consider that behavior, coming from you, acceptable?

    3. Why did you act the way you did? Do you think disregarding those reasons would be worth avoiding conflict?

    4. Is entirely avoiding this conflict even possible? How so? What will the cost of that be for you?
     
    Last edited: Mar 24, 2015
    • Like x 6
  14. Kaylotta

    Kaylotta Writer Trash

    @wixbloom, I think I'm gonna print that out and put it up on my wall.
     
    • Like x 1
  15. wixbloom

    wixbloom artcute

    I do it all the time! #2 is especially effective - it makes me turn my initial reaction of indignation at myself to the other person, as in "are you kidding me, I'd want to punch myself in the face if I even thought of saying something like that! ... oh."
     
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