With the situation in Nigeria now, it is only natural that people will be on edge and tempers will run high upon provocation. Hence, the need to be very careful when interacting with people.
Most people cannot channel their anger and frustration well. They end up taking it out on their families, customers and random people they encounter.
Recently, I was in a class and the facilitator threw a question at the class. Everybody shuffled papers in haste to solve the problem and come up with an answer.
I had a piece of paper in front of me and the tail end of a pen on my cheek. I was thinking hard. Then someone from behind, who was not interested in solving the problem or contributing anything meaningful; whispered (rather loudly) something entirely unrelated to the question at hand. That interrupted my line of thought and I became confused. I tried to ignore him but he was persistent.
I told him politely that I wasn’t interested in any of his jokes because I was trying to think. He got offended and said I was uptight.
To cut the long story short, we exchanged a few sentences and I saw that he was just out to make trouble. I retreated. That rendered him powerless as he couldn’t pursue the argument and thus trouble. He eventually turned to the next person.
Some people are like that. Like hungry lions waiting to attack. And with the current situation of the country, it has gotten worse. Before you are able to send your point home, you’re already on the floor fighting for your life.
A friend told me of an incident she witnessed recently in the market. Two women pounced on themselves. I’m sure you have also noticed that people are easily provoked these days.
So what do we do in situations like this?
First, Communicate your feelings politely. If there’s something the other person is doing wrong, politely let them know. Do not use foul language. Do not insult or abuse. Just state clearly what the problem is.
Secondly, be observant. Watch the other person. See if you are understood. Observe if he/she is angry at what you said or not. For you to observe the other person, you have to have made your point, you are quiet and attentive. The response will tell you if he/she took it well or not.
Thirdly, show appreciation. If the person takes it well and makes amend, say “thank you”. Sometimes, it takes a little appreciation to make all the difference. Appreciate people when they listen to you and correct the mistakes they’ve been making.
Finally, always take the easy way out. If your words are found, don’t stress yourself to make a point. It’s better to have your feelings hurt than to have both your feelings and body hurt.
A lot could be going on in the mind of the other person and you don’t want that person expressing angst about your body. You should end the conversation and leave immediately.
Let’s try to treat people right even as we remain patriotic. It will get better soon. Stay safe.