This was the question I was asked in a seminar after describing an ugly relationship meltdown with my husband’s best friend.
After the confrontation between us, while expressing amazement concerning the friend’s behavior, my husband kindly guided me into also seeing his friend’s point of view. For the first time, I realized I had been threatening his best friend’s ego with my sarcasm, thinking it was done all in fun and he should know that. I thought he shouldn’t take himself so seriously and rationalized that I wouldn’t be offended if someone said the things I said and neither should he. I had inadvertent treated him the way I wanted to be treated instead of the way he wanted to be treated.
The unfortunate answer to the question, “Why hadn’t my husband told me earlier?” was, “My husband had tried many times to tell me but I had argued, maintained my position, and changed nothing.”
I now regret my mistake; my failure to listen carefully to the guidance, and to be sensitive to the frustration others were feeling with my communication habits. And, yet, the message of my biting and hurtful sarcasm had been delivered through friends, relatives, and enemies over the years countless times before. I had managed to adamantly justify my obstinate behavior because my mind was firmly sealed and guarded against opinions that differed from my own.
How do I avoid the same mistake in the future?
- I remember how badly we all need balance and guidance
- I listen carefully to others’ observations (without interrupting them)
- Instead of getting defensive, I ask questions for clarification
- I maintain healthy detachment by keeping my ego out of the way
- I say, “That’s fascinating” instead of “That’s bullsh*t.”
What a better world it would be if we learned earlier rather than later!