I love animals. I think it’s safe to say that I like animals more than I like a lot of people. Yet, when I say animals I mean dogs. Don’t get me wrong, I’m an equal opportunity animal lover, but dogs are by far my favorite. However, Mr. Kelley has cats. As in multiple felines. In the beginning this posed a problem for two reasons: 1) Cats aren’t my favorite and 2) I’m allergic to their never-ending shedding. However, today problem number 3 became evident: they don’t respond to scolding like dogs do. I can’t just raise my voice and yell at them when they do something wrong because they just look right through you with their moon-pie eyes and pretend like you’re not even there. And then it occurred to me why he likes his cats so much: like owner, like pet. Mr. Kelley, like I’m sure most people (and apparently cats), don’t like getting yelled at.
Most people tend to shut down when someone is in their face scolding them loudly. My last post was about getting someone to apologize and explaining why what they said/did was hurtful, but how you go about it makes all the difference. Perhaps you deal with people who do respond to yelling and loud noises and in that case you’re one of the lucky ones because in my experience that hasn’t really worked well. No one likes to feel belittled or bullied and you’re definitely not going to get anywhere with someone who walks away from you’re yelling. So it’s important to consider who you’re communicating with and what their listening and conversing style is. Yes, they’re the one who made you mad so who gives a crap what their style is, right? As I’ve mentioned before, communication is a two-way street. If you’re talking, you’re going to need someone to listen and if you’re not speaking in a way they understand than you’ve just wasted your time.
It’s difficult to think clearly when you’re upset or hurt and it’s natural to want to lash out and yell, but use your breath in a much more constructive way.
You can use “I” statements
- Instead of saying: When you make plans, you don’t take anyone else into consideration; you’re such a selfish asshole.
- Say: I would appreciate it if you consider my plans because when you don’t I feel like you don’t care about me.
You can use examples
- Instead of saying: You’re so rude when you walk away from me when I talk to you.
- Say: Would you ever walk away from a customer at work when they’re trying to talk to you about something? I think I deserve the same respect.
Avoid “always” and “never” statements
- Instead of saying: You’re always late and you never call to let me know.
- Say: It’s disrespectful to keep people waiting when you know that you’re going to be late. I would appreciate a phone call letting me know if you’re running a few minutes or hours behind so I can accomplish other things in my day.
These are all examples of what I’ve found helpful when dealing with arguments and to be quite honest, they don’t always work. The other person may not see things your way and there might not be a solution. Just know that by handling it calmly and explaining your side you’ve already go the upper-hand. You won’t look back and feel like an a-hole for yelling at a person who probably tuned you out.
Side note: I found the best way to deal with the cat is to fling handfuls of water at her until she scurries away. Too bad it’s not so easy when dealing with her owner.