Disagreeing without being disagreeable

Alexis - Provo, Utah
Entered on October 1, 2008
Age Group: 18 - 30
Themes: respect, sports

It was my junior year in high school when while watching my little sister’s junior high volleyball game, I noticed one of the team members picking on my little sister. Of all of the team mates, it was my little sister who received every rude remark and sarcastic comment from this team mate and captain of the team. Later after the game, I made it a point to single out that team captain and calmly and as courteously as possible express my sincere disappointment in the way she treated one of her team mates, my sister. I also mentioned that maybe she could take this bit of information and turn it into useful advice since I was not trying to insult her. The team captain paid little attention to me and slipped away to her mother’s car. I returned to my vehicle only to find a very irate driver parked behind my car. It was the mother of the team captain. She was completely irrational and hysterical as she screamed profanities and cursed my existence. It was at this time that I realized that this woman believed me to be an adult who had insulted her daughter and that it was rude of me to single out her daughter without consulting her. If only people would take the time to stop and look at both sides of the story, much miscommunication would be avoided. If instead of reacting to a situation as this woman did, take the time to examine the story from both perspectives, one might avoid embarrassment. I am not the least bit embarrassed for what I said because of how I said and meant it. I was not out to degrade the team captain but merely point out some ways in which she could better herself and I expressed this opinion in the kindest way possible. She might not feel embarrassed now, but I’m sure that in time that mother will regret her harsh words, as we all usually do. Both the woman and I singled out the individuals which we were in discord with and expressed our opinions. I’m sure we both felt a little better about the situation once our opinion was known, but I must say that the manner in which the woman expressed her opinion did not make her seem “tough” or more “adult” than I. Her manner certainly did not make me value her opinion or her situation, but in fact created hostile feelings in myself which would be the opposite desired effect when one is trying to state their opinion. You do not sound more intelligent or “tough” when cursing. There is finesse in disagreeing without being disagreeable.