in your face

People who get in your face don’t give you much room. You are certainly not allowed to interrupt. Horrors! In no uncertain terms, any thought of actually contradicting them is totally out of the question. Even a simple interjection is too much for them to handle.

So, they talk. And talk. And talk. If you dare interrupt, they simply talk louder, and/or faster. Why? They have to stay in control; they have to take the dominant position and hang on to it tenaciously. You do not matter; you have nothing to say which interests them. They have all the information they need; they are right; and when they want your opinion they will tell you what it is.

You’re being “preached-at,” scolded, berated, and cornered. I see this most in husband/wife relationships, and between insecure bosses and their employees.

Throughout life there will be those who cross our paths who must dominate, control, assume authority, and come at us, for no more apparent reason other than they believe they are smarter and more right, than we are. In fact, they never truly discover who we are: they just don’t care about it.

How do we handle such people? Unless we really have to go to the bathroom, we truly just stand there as they browbeat us. My best advice? Humility. Let them unload whatever it is on their mind. We recently had a repairman in our home that was passionate about his Christian faith. He may have been excited, but we were left no room to respond. It was a one way conversation.

I hate being preached at. Whether it is some Christian trying to convert me to his point of view, a philosopher-type endeavoring to drive home a universal point of “Meaning,” or a Telemarketing call, I hate it! I am a person with a studied mind, a passionate heart, and a few opinions of my own. What would give me the right to pound my point of view into someone else with no consideration for their thoughts?

Might I suggest that conversations, healthy ones, at least, need to remain give-‘n-take, maintaining dialog more than monolog. Might I suggest graciousness in listening to someone else’s point of view, tempered with wisdom?

Could it be possible that people who are so assertive must preserve that stance because, deep within, they are not really that certain? Give them some room, and some time: everyone deserves a chance to learn, to amend their ways. Still, no one has a right to be in your face…, even me.

Cordially,

Gary

But….

“BUT wait! There’s more!”  “I agree with everything you say Senator, BUT… .”  “There is significant truth in what you say, BUT… .”  “No, really, you look stunning in that color, BUT… .”  “I’ve always been one of your greatest supporters, BUT… .”  “This is obviously the best option to meet our goals, BUT… .” 

BUT! BUT! BUT! BUT! BUT! Doesn’t that word just make you want to kick some people in the, a, er, BUTT!?!

BUT can signify an agreeable disagreeability. It signals “You’ve missed something.” It implies a lack of consideration of extraneous observations, facts, circumstances. Or, it can be a curt interruption that subtly, or not so subtly, counters your ideas with mine— “Yes, BUT… .”  Which is a polite manner of saying, “You are so wrong I can’t believe it!” or “How can you be so stupid!?!” “Now listen to what I have to say!”

The problem is that we can be so far into formulating our BUT, our counterpoint, our objections, that we often fail to fully listen to the other person’s presentation.

            Why is that?

Set forth somewhat callously, we have to WIN. No matter how reasonable or thoroughly developed the other person’s point of view, WE have to be the one who is not only right, BUT more right. So we rudely interrupt, speak LOUDER, use ad hominem (go on the attack), or slander through innuendo. Granted, genuine disagreements DO exist between people, businesses, and governments. BUT in an attempt to be more right, we rarely listen to the rationale and heart-felt beliefs undergirding someone else’s perspective. WINNING has supplanted listening as the modus operandi. Far be it from most of us to take the lower seat and listen to the opposition’s case. And the thought of being gracious in the heat of argument obviously reveals weakness. Much easier to be rude and interrupt.

Seriously, in what ways does WINNING against the opposition trump careful listening and reconciliation? It is true that some things are worth fighting for. BUT at the expense of human decency and graciousness!?! I pray not.  [Most of us do not have that nice a butt to begin with, anyway.]

So help us God.

Gary