Have you ever been in a conversation that suddenly turned into what could only be described as an accidental throw down before the nukes get launched? My nephew found himself in one of those conversations on Sunday afternoon while my family was video chatting. We were joking around about what a grandma’s job is, and I asked my almost-eight-year-old nephew the question “What else would Grandma do besides be silly, she is retired and doesn’t go to work anymore?” My nephew replied without skipping a beat, “She should cook!”
Yowsers. My mother started to take umbrage while simultaneously laughing, my dad looked like he wanted to take cover because he knew a storm was coming, and my brother looked like he swallowed a bird. My nephew was confused as to what started the firestorm. After I stopped laughing, my mother (the Grandma who should be cooking) deferred to me to answer my nephew. My simple and straight-forward response was, “I think who ever told you that may have been misinformed.”
When was the last time you were in a conversation where someone said something that made you levitate? How do you typically respond? Are you silent and fume about it for days? Do you imagine all the ways you could get back at the person for acting like an idiot? Do you let it go?
We all have hot-button issues. One of mine is being told that I need to conform to patriarchal notions of a woman’s role. I’m actually somewhat proud of myself for the response I gave my nephew, because it was very calm and matter of fact. My response to him made me think about how I would respond to a grown up with the same attitude.
And this statement “I think whoever told you that may have been misinformed,” is fantastic for all kind of situations and will probably be used many times in the future when I find myself in a situation where I need to disagree amicably. The statement is kind, it’s direct, and it let’s the person know you disagree with them without demeaning them.
What’s your favorite (and kind and respectful) way of responding to someone with whom you disagree? We’d love to hear your answers so email us back with your solutions!
Stay curious friends!
P.S. Speaking of hot button issues, I’m leading a women’s leadership workshop for the Blair County Chamber of Commerce on April 20 at 12 pm on this topic! If you’re a woman leader, you can sign up at www.blairchamber.com.