Tuesday, January 10, 2012

A & B Conversations

As much crap as I talk about my days at the Waco School for Girls, I learned a great many things there. Things like former Miss America Vanessa Williams has really bad skin; rich, white girls are over-medicated; and boarding schools are a hotbed of drug use and teen sex. But in one of of the many professional development workshops we were made to sit through, I also learned the fine art of proper communication and conflict prevention and resolution.

The gist of this particular workshop was to never involve a third party in a conversation that needs to be had between you and another person. For example, if Coworker X continuously leaves dirty coffee mugs on my desk, I shouldn't go speak with Coworker Y about it. That's just going to cause more problems between me and Coworker X and drag Coworker Y into a tense situation. And next thing you know, I'm going upside Coworker X's head with a dirty coffee mug in the staff lounge.

The workshop leader explained that we tend to go to a third party about a conflict not, as we claim, to get some perspective on a situation, but rather to gain allies, have our feelings validated and have a reason to complain.

I thought about this workshop last night as I watched the latest episode of "Kim & Kourtney Take New York." (And before you admonish me for partaking of the Kardashian train wreck, please remember that a lot of you watch way worse shit than that. Pot, meet Kettle.) Kim was chatting with her sister Kourtney about her issues with new husband, Chris Humphries. Then in the next episode she was seen talking about it with her mother, and later still with her sister Khloe. You know who wasn't in on that conversation? Chris Humphries.

It's not really my place or habit to comment on celebrity life or marriages, but seeing as Kim has hers out there for all of us to feed on, here's my two-cents: marriage is such a difficult institution. You are no longer solely a ME. Now, at least 50% of the time, you have to be a WE. And the honeymoon phase ISN'T a time to move in with your sister, her boyfriend and their toddler in a hotel suite in New York City, while a camera crew records your whole life.

And I get that the Kardashian sisters are tight-ish and the mom likes to be a BFF rather than a parent, and that one can't seem to fart without the other three weighing in on the sound, smell and texture of said fart, but one would think that Kim, who has been married before and has had many relationships fall apart under the scrutiny of the media and her meddling family, would know better.

When my married or coupled friends come to me with their relationship woes, as a true friend I only listen and let them vent, interjecting a little joke here and there or an "oh" or an "uh-huh" wherever appropriate. What I aim to not participate in is a full-on conversation on what is wrong with their partner because honestly, it's not my relationship. Those grievances need to be aired with the party in question. And I wouldn't be doing my job as a confidant if I allowed them to avoid a real conversation with the intended "offender." I'm not always successful, but that's what I always work toward.

Just keep in mind, my lovelies, that the shortest path between two points is a straight line.

*smooches...dropping some knowledge on a Tuesday*
I'll admit, sometimes my opinions of the spouse or boyfriend get the better of me and I say something, but most times I just shut up.