A few weeks ago I was at dinner with friends. The conversation went something like this:
A: Company did something. It was bad and wrong to do it. Can you believe it?
Me: Well, I think what they did was wrong, but I understand why they did it
A: How can you understand what they did? It was completely horrible.
Me: There’s a lot of ways you can look at this…
A: No there’s not
And it was an elementary school way of having a discussion, and it ended with an elementary school tactic, when person A called me a name.
Yes. I was called a name.
And I was taken aback, because this was a highly educated person, very successful etc.
And A resorted to name calling when I made a point that A couldn’t rebut.
Now I just stared at A, open mouthed, because frankly I haven’t been called a name in a lot of years. In fact, I can’t remember the last time I was called a name. So I stared at A and finally closed my mouth. For a minute I thought about standing up, throwing my napkin down and storming out, telling A to go &^$% themselves. But I didn’t. I took a deep breath and said
“Sorry you feel that way.”
And I turned to the person on my right and started a different conversation.
So here’s the question: how do we remain rational in times when people are not always rational and logical about their opinions? (for the record, this was not a political discussion per se, though some could say it is, and that is why I’m not stating what the discussion was about)
Are we allowed to have opinions and share them with people? Of course, we should be. No one deserves to be attacked for having an opinion. No one deserves to be called names. Yet, I found myself in this situation. And I didn’t know what to do. If it happened again, I still don’t know what the right course of action.
Do you defend your opinion?
Do you skirt the issue?
Do you yell back?
Do you walk away?
I defended my opinion to a point, but then when the name calling began I backed off. My feeling was A was being irrational and unable to have a conversation.
But I’m still annoyed.
So I journaled, now I blogged, and as Mick says, maybe I should write a story with a not so great end for the person. But will this be enough? or will I continue to replay the conversation in my head?
I need to learn to let go when people take up residence in my head. But I can’t figure out the steps.