When you're bad at confrontation
Some people are scared of snakes, or heights, and some people are scared of confrontation like yours truly. In this article, I'll break down the deep layers of insecurity so that you don't have to go to hiding like Lord Voldemort again.
Remember when your school exam results were published? You'd use all the excuses to go home late to avoid meeting your parents. Or maybe go to granny's and ask her to manage your dad for permission. Remember the time your mom looked at the empty Ovaltine jar and you'd hit your study table before 6 PM? My brother would break a glass (yes, it's always him) and we'd fight all day, blaming each other. But none of it mattered as Baba would pin the blame on both of us. Scared of punishment, we'd finish all our homework and be in bed by 9 PM.
But confrontations never seem to leave us. As we become adults, it comes through the four dreaded words: "We need to talk". Our irrational fears make us believe the other person probably found out that, as kids, we threw milk out of the window when mom wasn't watching. If a complete stranger walks up to me and says that line, my brain will convince myself that he is about to break up with me. But hey, he's just a stranger, and that's the point of irrationality.
Our teenage years were filled with the hysteria of parents finding out letters and gifts in locked drawers. "Make up something fast! Say it's your friend's. But oh wait. Don't your friends have a wardrobe?" we would think when we were caught.
You have a crush on someone and when your obsession becomes obvious, they confront you. Awkwardly, you'd say "Haha. It's sad how you interpret my fondness for you as something more than friendship." The struggle becomes tougher when you're an introvert. You're delegated the task to fire or criticize someone. You'd rather break the news of a pay raise and curse yourself.
As someone who has to depend on teaching kids for money, I gladly accept whatever I am offered after my first call. But I could have easily negotiated for more pay. My return trips from beauty salons are accompanied by too-short fringes. I'm more willing to accept the idea that my face isn't good enough for any sort of haircut than blaming the hair-dresser.
If going to alternate dimensions was plausible, I'd leave my phone to avoid dealing with serious talks. The first thing to do after 42 missed calls from mom is to call her back. But the idea of what awaits is so scary that I'd postpone contacting her and let another 42 missed calls pile up.
The anxiety reaches its peak when we get to hear our boss wants to talk to us. We delay as much as we can by going to the washroom, chitchatting with everyone on the way, checking random files and preparing an explanation for why we left office early one day.
Sometimes, no matter where you hide or how skilfully you side-step an issue, confrontation can be the only way to resolve a problem. When this happens, your only choice is to close your eyes, take a deep breath, and recite the mental script that you spent three days preparing. Approach a discussion as a conversation, not a confrontation. Who knows? Maybe it won't be so bad.
Myat Moe is an occasional philosopher whose favourite pastime is confusing people with their nationality. Reach her @firstname.lastname@example.org