Don’t want your Opinion CrankaTsuris is a particularly interesting CrankaTsuris to explore because it can lead to other forms of CrankaTsuris such as “Constructive Criticism” CrankaTsuris, “Get off my Back” CrankaTsuris, “Getting on my Nerves” CrankaTsuris, or “Drive me Crazy” CrankaTsuris. Just imagine if you came down with all four CrankaTsuris at the exact same time! Things can get pretty ugly pretty quickly.
It starts with someone, usually your partner (or your boss, perhaps), wanting to give you their opinion that also has a request tied in with it. Your partner wants to tell you to do something, along with the opinion as to exactly how you should do it. The reason that your partner is so eager to give you an opinion on how to complete the task is because your partner already has had a lifetime of experience of you incorrectly and incompetently completing this simple task.
You make it clear that you do not want their opinion because you know that it means that you have to do something, and also to be reminded of all the times you kind of screwed up. The fact that you do not want this person’s opinion does not diminish this person’s desire to give you an opinion because this person wants you to do something, and also, to do the thing their particular way.
After a while, when it becomes abundantly clear that you will be getting the opinion, regardless of whether you want this opinion or not, you relent and agree to accept this person’s opinion, and understand that you will have a job to do. You hear the opinion, or at least, you think you heard the opinion. Now, that you heard the opinion, you disagree with the opinion. The primary reason that you disagree with the opinion is because it requires you to do the something that you do not want to do, or if it something that you were going to do, it is not the way you were going to do it. You have no memory whatsoever of previously doing this task incorrectly. It may have been a traumatic event that you conveniently deleted from your memory bank. However, you see that it is very important for this other person that you complete the task that you did not want to do, so you then reluctantly agree to do what this other person asked you to do.
Probably because you did not want the opinion in the first place, and did not want to do what was requested in the second place, and if you were ever willing to do what was requested, it was not the way you would even do it in the third place, you end up doing the thing that was requested in the exact opposite way it was suggested that you do what had been asked.
This, you believe, should satisfy the person who offered the opinion which became a request that you had, as you firmly believe, generously agreed to do. You had agreed to do this task because you felt that you were about to come down with “Get off my Back” CrankaTsuris, and you wanted this person to get off your back without the CrankaTsuris.
However, because you completed the task in a way that was diametrically opposed to the way the other person requested that you do the task, this person lets you know very quickly, and you then come down with the exact thing you were avoiding; a bad case of “Get off my Back” CrankaTsuris. You do not even realize that you completed the task in a way that was not asked. You believe that you followed the directions exactly as requested. This then adds to the CrankaTsuris. You have now come down with a case of “Drive me Crazy” CrankaTsuris. It drives you crazy when somebody asks you to do something that you did not want to do in the first place, and instead of getting a thank you for going out of your way to do what was asked, you get a very angry person who also comes down with “Drive Me Crazy” CrankaTsuris.
“I tell this bum to do this one simple thing that no human can possibly botch up, and amazingly, he figures out a way to do it. It drives me crazy when I make a request, this person tells me that they are going to do it, and then they proceed to do the exact opposite.” The bum’s partner now also has “Drive me Crazy” CrankaTsuris.
Both participants in this terrible interaction now come down with “Getting on my Nerves” CrankaTsuris. They are also both suffering from a case of “Constructive Criticism” CrankaTsuris. This particular combination is a bad and dangerous case of this particular CrankaTsuris because not only have they gotten on each other’s nerves, and not only have they both rubbed each other the wrong way, they have now gotten underneath each other’s skin. This is the trifecta of “Getting on my Nerves” CrankaTsuris.
One person in this dispute charges the other person that not only did this person not hear what was said in this particular instance. The charge is expanded to “You never ever listen to me. You do not even know how to pay attention” further adding to the “Constructive Criticism” CrankaTsuris.
The other person, in response, charges back that everything that was said was in fact heard, but now, with this complaint, the response is that “I will never ever listen to you again!”
Hearing this, the person who initiated the charge, responds by saying: “Do you want my opinion?”
The second person, who just a second ago, said “I will never ever listen to you ever again” feels guilty about this threat and what that actually would mean in the relationship, responds “Ok. What is your opinion?”
The first person responds “We should go see a therapist.”
The second person does not want to see a therapist, and again goes back to this belief that everything was heard, and if it was not heard, certainly the hearing will vastly improve since the belief is that even improved hearing is better than seeing a therapist. However, the second person may be smart enough to know that they would not be able to convince the first person about improved listening skills so the second person agrees to go to see the therapist.
The couple goes to the therapist who listens to their communication problem. The therapist then gives them an opinion. Both partners are actually quite happy with the opinion because they each conformed the opinion with what they wanted to hear. On the way home, they discovered this disconnect, and it reverts back to each suffering from “Drive me Crazy” CrankaTsuris.
This gets me to an old Bhuddist story about the four blind men and an elephant. It is a story of a group of blind men who have never come across an elephant before and who learn and imagine what the elephant is like by touching it. None of them were aware of its shape and form.
Out of curiosity, they said: “We must inspect and know it by touch, of which we are capable”. So, they sought it out, and when they found it they groped about it. The first person, whose hand landed on the trunk, said, “This being is like a thick snake”. For another one whose hand reached its ear, it seemed like a kind of fan. As for another person, whose hand was upon its leg, said, the elephant is a pillar like a tree-trunk. The blind man who placed his hand upon its side said the elephant, “is a wall”. Another who felt its tail, described it as a rope. The last felt its tusk, stating the elephant is that which is hard, smooth and like a spear. Each blind man feels a different part of the elephant’s body, but only one part, such as the side or the tusk.
Of course, each of the men described the elephant based on their limited experience and their descriptions of the elephant are different from each other. They come to suspect that the other person is dishonest and they come to blows. The moral of the parable is that humans have a tendency to claim absolute truth based on their limited, subjective experience as they ignore other people’s limited, subjective experiences which may be equally true.
I refer to this parable becomes sometimes, it really comes down to really examining the elephant in the room. There are things that we want to hear. There are things that we may be able to hear. There are the things that we may need to hear. Each may be very different from each other.
The things that we want to hear is the most limited. It starts with the story that has already formed in our head. As an attorney, I am used to seeing people litigation disputes because that is what litigation is about. However, since I am in the world of litigation, once I step outside of that bubble, I get to witness regular people do that everyday. I can succumb to that temptation at times well. It is, unfortunately, a human instinct we all have. People sometimes want to win, or be in the right. Of course, these people are not professionals, and it often gets ugly.
At this point, we can try to drop the story. If we drop the story, the litigation that we all do can stop as well. Then, we need to find a replacement. There is one that is always available, and it is called generosity. Sometimes, we can feel generous, and sometimes, not so much. That is okay too. As long as we are being honest. Honesty too is respected. However, we can let the other person know when we can feel generous. When we can clearly express the fact that we are feeling generous, we are more open. Then, the practice of generosity can be met with generosity in return.
As a negotiator, this generosity is called giving the other other side the experience of being heard. When you give someone that experience, you can get that generosity back in return. Soon, the “Don’t want your Opinion” CrankaTsuris can be replaced with “I am very interested in your opinion.”
And, maybe the job as well
And just like that, maybe we are ready to examine the entire elephant in the room.