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Saturday
Oct122013

E-Confrontation

"Most people who go to the opera hope there's no one in their seat, that there's no problems. If I go to the opera I HOPE someone's in my seat." - Cedric the Entertainer

We all know that person who's always upset about the current situation. Hell, I've been that person before. The one who sits you down for a ten minute, one-sided conversation about how everyone on the road is an idiot, about how they were in a hurry and some jackass cut them off, and how if everyone would just follow the rules the world would be a better place. What's funny, however, is that these are usually the same people who have to put up with ungrateful servers when they go out to eat. And obnoxious customer service at the department store. And that guy who took their ticket at the movie theater, what a jerk! What terrible luck these people have! Always stuck in traffic and dealing with the worst people in the world. Everyone's out to get them. Everyone else is always in the way, always treating them rudely, and never doing what they should be doing. But then you start to notice a pattern. These people tend to attract confrontation. Could it be that they're possibly confrontational? I mean, no one can be that unlucky, right?

Some people are simply looking for a fight. When you work in the customer service industry you have to recognize this and walk away when you see it because confrontational people seek out interaction. Who's gonna get it today? Who's going to dare argue with me? The more you try and reason with them, the more they'll simply look for weakness. The reason we have to listen to a ten-minute diatribe about the morning commute is because there was no one with them in the car when it happened. They need a target and an audience at all times: someone to unleash their anger upon, and then someone to sympathize with them about why they did it. A lesson needs to be learned and they're the ones who are going to teach us. When we get it wrong, they're here to tell us why. When we're being impolite, they're here to put us in our place. And if you're a blogger, or someone who other people actually listen to, then you're the enemy because why should anyone listen to you when they could be listening to them?

I communicate with a fair amount of other bloggers regularly, not just those who write about spirits, and it seems that everyone has their own experience with these people, be it in the form of a nasty comment or a critical email. As one friend told me recently: "We live in an age where information is more widely available than ever before and that information empowers people. It makes them dangerous."  I laughed out loud when he said that because it's so true. The majority of confrontational emails I receive are usually aimed at correcting something I've written about, regardless of whether I was actually wrong or right. As someone who puts themself out there on a blog, you have to be ready for this type of interaction, but you don't necessarily have to give these people the forum they so desperately desire. The people that are generally the most upset that I don't allow comments on the blog are almost always the ones who want to tell me off, to teach me a lesson, and punk me out in front of my readers. The ones who actually want to add something constructive to the conversation will generally just send me an email because it's not about winning.

And that's what most confrontational people are looking for: victory. They were right, we were wrong. Just admit it.

Of course, if you just walk away and say nothing, you're always better off. Confrontational people usually interpret silence as acknowledgement that you don't have an answer for their assertion. You've got no comeback. Admit defeat. When in reality, we're thinking about what we're going to eat for dinner later and which whisky we're going to drink afterwards.

Oh...I'm sorry, were you saying something?

-David Driscoll