We may sometimes be in situations where a stranger will do something very irritating or discomforting: They may turn up their music too loudly. They may assign us to a hotel room where the air conditioning will have a high pitched whine. In a restaurant, a fly may be floating in the soup.
Our upbringing and cultural traditions may cause us to say nothing and to overlook our agony. But inwardly, we may twitch and surprise ourselves with a sudden outburst of rage, sometimes in a completely unrelated place.
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When dealing with someone annoying, the way forward is not with silence or rage. We are ideally looking for a way to be polite and honest, or civil and forthright.
To achieve this, we should accept that not everything we desire will please others. We could explore and hold on to what we want nevertheless. At the same time, we should distinguish between what someone does and what they meant to do.
We're seldom very good at perceiving someone's motives when an incident drives us mad. We see intention where there was none and escalate a situation when the agitated response is not warranted.
The less we like ourselves, the more we may appear in our own eyes as plausible targets for mockery and harm. The ideal complaint emerges when we remove the paranoid assumption.
The actual words don't matter. What counts is the lightness of tone that comes from an impression of the legitimacy or our position. For example:
Most of us are beyond weather, parking and traffic-related conversations at parties. We have deep, substantial topics to discuss, which are not hollow and unproductive like most party small talks are.
Small talk has its benefits, it is designed to prevent controversies and hurt, smartly avoids religion and politics, and is a way to test the waters before we decide to talk about other stuff with someone.
Diplomacy evolved initially to deal with problems in the relationships between countries.
Instead of leaders infuriating each other and making decisions in the heat of the moment, they learnt to send emissaries who could state things in less inflammatory ways, who wouldn't take the issues so personally, who would be more patient.
... who has been internalized. You're speaking to yourself as someone else once talked to you or made you feel.
You should acknowledge your failures and be happy to make amends. But you also have to stand back from this critic and question what they are doing in your mind. They don't have a right to walk as they wish through the rooms of your mind.