ONE of the best pieces of advice I stumbled on recently is that to solve a personal conflict, it’s probably best to sit down with the person(s) involved, have a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, and talk it out.
Of course, the fat kid inside me lit up at PB&J sandwiches, so I immediately took it as seriously as the Sermon on the Mount.
Kidding aside, that method stood out for me mainly because I am a confrontational individual. I like to get things over with as quickly as possible—including any disagreements I have with others.
Of course, the downside is that I’m very abrasive and hard to get along with—I want to solve the problem while basically telling the person to “deal with it” if he/she doesn’t like the way I approach it. Yes, I realize my approach could lead to a tar-and-feathering somewhere down the line, and a few friends have pointed that out as well.
So I’m beginning to approach dialogue with people in a new light. I have to be more methodical and conscious with the way I do things: count to a hundred (yes, that helps), try to really see things from the person’s perspective, and find a middle ground instead of insisting it’s my way or the highway.
The PB&J sandwich adds an extra calming factor as we humans are normally more level-headed after we eat something (hello, #hangry team). It’s taking all my energy to do it since I never had the gift of gab or “press relations.” But that’s not an excuse for me not to take what is a major flaw in my person and try to tweak it.
I feel like proper dialogue would solve 90 percent of my problems—and maybe the world’s—because it teaches us how to talk to people and not just at people.
I hate it to my core when well-meaning individuals ask me how I am and then follow it up with a list of ways that I am a piece of horse manure and can do better—they think they know me without going through the effort of actually knowing me. But I also have to pause a bit and ask myself if I do that with someone who doesn’t share my worldview (health, religion, politics, what have you). I have to admit that I first judge them without having asked why they believe that in the first place.
What I’m getting at is that all of us have our own ways of doing things, and having a few iterations between people is not ground-breaking. If we all find a way to work around—and even with! —these, we might actually make the place we live in a heck of a lot better.
I’ve coined a term for this: Dialogue and Doughnuts. If this takes off, I want royalties paid in Krispy Kreme and J.Co.