Anger entrenches people

Going to restart the blog, mixing it in with some personal stories, as well as the same random tech posts like before. As always, feedback is welcome.

Last night, I had a remarkably Seinfeld-like moment that reminded me of something very important. I was driving to North Beach in SF for dinner and drove around a couple blocks looking for parking. I found a spot on a major road (Columbus Ave) and proceeded to parallel park. On my reverse in, I noticed a man standing there, who I originally thought was just looking for a cab. He wasn’t moving, so I rolled down my windows, and asked if he could move. He told me he was saving the spot, I responded that it’s kind of unfair to save a spot if the car isn’t there, especially on a major road. He looked at his phone, and we waited another 30 seconds or so, then said ok and moved. The entire conversation was completely cordial.

After parking, I needed to get something from the trunk. I told the guy thanks for moving. A full couple minutes after, the guy’s friend driver, an older woman (seemed like his mom), shows up, and immediately starts cussing me out. Now, I’m not one to seek out conflict, but if someone starts yelling, I’m not going to ignore it. So I ask, why are you swearing? She said that it was her spot. I told her that her friend had given it up, and regardless it had been minutes on a major road, which means many other cars would have tried to take the same spot, and that you can’t just save spots. I stayed calm in my response; she got angrier.

Regardless, the moment she started swearing, there was no way I was moving. I had become entrenched in my position. Had she approached it with a level-head, I actually do believe I might have moved. Oftentimes in tough situations, people tend to react strongly. It takes patience and discipline to stay calm – but many times people act in anger- and that almost always makes things worse. Anyways, it’s a reminder of something I know I need to work on.

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One Response to Anger entrenches people

  1. Will M says:

    So true. On the few memorable times when I took the calm path, ended up with great results. understanding from the other person, an immediate fix of some mistake, etc… Had a moment a few weeks ago where I wish I had controlled the rage dealing with someone. not so successful… but awareness is the first step. thanks for the reminder!

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