237 – Lovingly Navigate Verbal Conflict

Avoiding fights requires keen skill.

“I don’t need you,” is a sales posture. Reply, “Good, I will stay out of your way.” If someone adds, “…But, I want you…” Reply, “Is it a good want? You know, wants and needs…” Being literal makes you impervious to passive aggression and posturing.

If someone is emotional and adamant, just agree with everything, no buts or arguments; be supportive. “I just don’t want any part of that!” he emotionally explodes. Reply, “Then don’t be involved. You don’t need to.” If he says, “This is very bad and wrong!” Say, “You’re right, it is very bad and wrong!” This will address every possible scenario.

If someone uses emotional theater to manipulate, he will get no traction from a mirror. If he has real emotional or mental problems, then you will not seem to be an enemy for him to devour as his hostile prey. It is not for you to solve emotional-mental problems of people who do not solicit your help as their licensed therapist.

If someone merely needs validation to get help growing up, then you will give it simply by agreeing, no matter how elementary life observations are. This helps many people mature faster. It happens all throughout people’s lives. It is especially a problem between parents and children, mentors and pupils, supervisors and employees.

Speak in turn, never beg to make your point. People who need to make a point need something and conflict is no place to be needy. Identify the bait and ignore it.

When someone asks you an unsettling and strangely-worded question—especially in “Religionese”—it’s an engineered trap. Answer, “Your wording is strange. Please rephrase that in standard English.” If they can’t, stay on topic, “Sometimes we have trouble expressing ourselves in standard English if we mostly talk to people who think similarly. But, we’ve taken too much time,” and move on to the next part in conversation—now, it’s your turn to ask a question, presumably in standard English. When communication breaks down, restate your own purpose and wait.

When math doesn’t add up, something is hiding—usually greed, immorality, or shame. Note any strangeness; call it out gently and pronto.

Matthew 5:37, Romans 12:9-21