COLLABORATION BEFORE CONFRONTATION.

I believe in collaboration above all. I believe in having friends and allies instead of enemies. However, I am not oblivious to the fact that some people believe only in confrontation. Reality TV is full of those obnoxious, pompous and arrogant men and women who think confrontation should be celebrated. Well, I guess it is how the culture has become today and everyone must prove they are an alpha, that nobody can mess with them. Collaboration or trying to get along with people has become a synonym of weakness it would seem.

Sometimes I would like to trick my brain into thinking I am not good at confrontation and I choose collaboration out of cowardice. I am very good at confrontation, too good maybe (with a pinch of arrogance). I am good at verbal confrontation, and I admit I haven’t had any physical confrontation in a while, not that I am complaining. I know I can be mean using vile words, mockery, I smirk and smile as I let out those significantly hurtful words designed to infuriate you and your fury amuses me even more, so I keep going. I don’t do that anymore, but I used to and I liked it. Let’s blame my youthful exuberance.

But as one grows older, it is easy to realize hurting others isn’t a solution to anything. It only satisfies your own ego really, more than anything else. Being mean isn’t an attitude that should be admired anyway. We all know that confronting somebody and getting a rise out of them is easy. Collaborating with people though, that is the hard part. Going that extra mile to understand others, finding common ground instead of trading insults, not many people are able to do that.

Collaboration is usually better than confrontation, that is almost universally undeniable. Even in stories or movies, we root for the bad guy to be punished but I believe we are more seduced if the sees the errors of his ways and switches sides. Seeing a bad guy become good or doing the right thing is always exhilarating. I do not like confrontation and neither should you. I prefer collaboration because it has only one outcome; one where everyone is happy and ends up on the same side, the good side. That is collaboration. 2 or more people getting together and accomplishing something together, as a unit. It is just a beautiful sight. Collaboration is literally the best option.

Confrontation on the other hand…It rhymes with conflict. It could be verbal, physical, or even psychological. Confrontation also rhymes with uncertainty, with the unknown. One can guess how confrontation will start but I can guarantee you that no one ever knows how it ends or which direction it could take, what the aftermath and consequences could be, how much trouble you could get into, how someone might get hurt verbally or physically. Confrontation can easily alter relationships forever and usually for the worst. That is a short list of all the problems confrontation brings. I don’t believe there exists a bigger mystery than confrontation. You never know what the damn outcome could be.

Avoiding confrontation isn’t weakness or cowardice. What is smarter than recognizing you don’t have a damn clue of how a situation might turn out? How is that cowardice or weakness oo stupidity? Yet, sometimes confrontation becomes like death: inevitable. Sometimes, you cannot avoid confrontation, whether you like it or not. If someone throws a punch or does anything physical, then you have no choice but defend yourself and those who are with you or under your care. That is the small exception in my opinion.

Physical confrontation also stems from the fact that some people will fight because they only understand violence and it is their only way to express themselves. Others like to inflict pain on others, but most people won’t fight. If you throw down, then I am not sorry, I will defend myself with the objective of making sure you don’t come back. Yet, very few people can control themselves and try to find common ground.

Collaboration isn’t about surrendering to others. Collaboration is about finding common ground, so we can move on together. We might not get everything we were hoping for, but at least we avoided confrontation, we avoided a potential disaster. We all have seen situation get out of hand because people chose confrontation. We need to teach ourselves how to remain calm and not panic or go to throwing verbal and physical punches before understanding what is going on. I believe in talking things out, maybe because I am a talker at heart. I believe in the power of words. That is one of the reasons I am in love with words, as they each hold a specific meaning, and perfect synonyms don’t exist. So, I always look for ways to work things out with people. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t. At least, I tried.

The one thing I know is, every time I chose to collaborate with people, every time I chose to get along with others, every time I used calm instead of fiery exchanges, either I made a friend, or a bad outcome was avoided and frankly, both situations are win-win. If you spend time confronting people, that is going to be your reality and soon you will not be able to live and work with others. How is that beneficial to anyone? Collaboration is way better than confrontation.

Just one man’s opinion…

Now smile and go on with your day!

Freeman. B

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