I’m honored that Fandango chose my question for this week’s provocative ask…
When it comes to your friends, your spouse, your significant other, or members of your family, is it better to confront them about things they say or do that bother or upset you or is it better to try to ignore those things in order to maintain peace in your relationship?
(I deliberately didn’t include work in this question due to its layers of complexity depending on our status. Hopefully, we are all equal in other types of relationships.)
To respond adequately to this, I will have to mention my dear parents (RIP). They were confrontational, maybe to an extreme. Their philosophy was that if you didn’t express a thought or feeling, it would get “bottled up” and explode. Consequently, they subjected each other to a nonstop barrage of criticism, with nothing off-limits, day after day, year after year.
I reacted very negatively to living with constant arguing (though I understood my parents loved each other). I wondered why you would treat any random stranger with more tact and kindness than you displayed toward your spouse. This informed my views to the extent that I swore to never live like this. If someone didn’t treat me with respect and support, I didn’t want anything to do with them. Also, it was with extreme reluctance that I ever mentioned any dissatisfaction. I didn’t confront ~ I just bailed. Sometimes it took a while though…
As has been documented repeatedly, I’m bad at choosing romantic partners, and part of that is due to both being unwilling to speak up when something bothers me, and also being highly intolerant of criticism directed at me. Oh no, I would think, this is just like my parents, I’m out. What about friendships then?
I’m a little more willing to express feelings with friends than I am a partner. Why? Because there’s less at stake. Forex, I have often said to friends that they’re too loud. Once, I straight up walked out of a gathering because everyone was yelling over a game and wouldn’t stop. But nothing happened ~ I joined them the next time, no biggie. I didn’t have to sleep with them that night. 🤣
Basically, bottom line: I don’t see much point in being regularly critical of someone. Save it for something hugely important and rare. If you can live with a minor annoyance, then do that. If you’re constantly annoyed, or constantly criticized, perhaps that’s a sign to leave the relationship.
Oh, I don’t criticize my daughters because they are perfect, duh. 💖💖
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