Thursday, May 28, 2009

No thanks to the last word

When it comes to relationships -- with spouses and significant others, siblings and in-laws, friends and colleagues -- the best lesson I've learned is this:

No matter how good it makes you feel at that moment, having the last word during a disagreement rarely is worth it.

In fact, I can't think of a situation in which having the last word did me much good in terms of relationship-building.

With a spouse or a significant other, it just makes you look overcritical (or nagging). With a friend, you come off as petty and possibly non-supportive. With colleagues or your boss, you just might be lecturing a little too much (or challenging in a not-so-constructive way). And with an in-law? Just choose any words you utter very carefully, and then let the issue lie. Quickly.

But that's just my experience. What's the best relationship lesson you've learned and why?


Anonymous said...

So in other words, no matter what the issue is, always let the other person be right?

Anonymous said...

My biggest lesson learned is that there is a difference between friends and acquaintances and it takes years to build real friendships. My next biggest lesson is that you should never set unrealistic expectations on others. After that, be very careful who you trust. Never gossip. When you're wrong, admit it freely and quickly. Apologizing sincerely is always taken well.

Anonymous said...

10:00 am can be right, and not have to drive home you point in getting in the last word. Not getting the last word is not relenting your position, its an act of maturity and not being petty. Sometimes there is real joy in just KNOWING you are correct.

Anonymous said...

Whose counting, or even notices, remembers or has time for paying attention to last word or who said last words or didn't?
A healthy discussion is not something usually to personalize on, instead it gets the brain and thoughts going and can be a learning time for all who are wanting to discuss and think about the discussion. Rather than be emotional about it all we can listen objectively.
Or is this 'no thanks to the last word' about not wanting to hear another who loves us and is confronting us and we don't like this? Wanting our own way instead of compromising?
Of course it can be more about getting a reaction from the other person, for attention maybe they want? and then beat them at the game by choosing not to react? What are the true motives behind this "no thanks to the last words"? Control or shutting down or defiant and closed off?
I have always heard that in a time of discussion usually after many words, allot of times the last words said are what we need to really listen to as they tell us what is really going on.
Get over it! go about your day and think about it quietly and really listen is what I think is best. As we do what we think is right for us anyway, whether they agree or not. Or time out for chill out and then go back to the discussion even with new insights.
Last words for being right aren't what is important anyway, as we will observe in a child; the child usually just wants their own way rather than being right or wrong. They have stopped wanting to listen long before the last word happens. Yet they will keep at it wanting their own way anyway.
And wanting their own way may be what is right for them, at least that is what they think at that moment.
Do we really think we are that important anyway with all wisdom?
Yes, sometimes... especially if it is with a chld wanting to be right and get their own way (if this will harm them or they will be hurt) as parents we need the last word! Yes, definitely we need the last word!
Yet, sometimes someone just hears us say it a different way is all and listens differently or isn't listening even and understanding us with our views the way we are saying it.
We all have good days and bad days and disagree or agree or are wrong or right sometimes; and mostly today just way too busy anyway with other more interesting and important things to think about than to personalize on someone wanting the last word or not the last word! Yet again, standing our ground for what we think is right sometimes does take last words whether the other person likes it or not!
They can be right and we can be right also, as what is right for us may not be right for the other. Overlooking or even agreeing and then going on about our own lives and business (after elementary or jr high stages of rebellions with those battles of childish behaviors of wanting the last word) is what I say.
Smiling and saying 'how important is it anyway'? And being grown up and mature about it, as it is all just really about another's behaviors anyway, letting us know more about them with nothing to do with us at all as we observe their need to be right, know it all, or have the last word or not.
"no thanks to the last word"? after writing all these words :) and thinking about it with different situations.
...sometimes that is OK and yet other times definitely NOT OK!!!!!!
A leader is sometimes necessary with saying the last word! Most definitely! Respect is needed with listening to the leader!

Anonymous said...

My biggest lesson learned is that it is okay to "Agree to Disagree". You feel the way you do because, A B & C. I feel the way I feel because X Y & Z. So just "Agree to Disagree".

Anonymous said...

how do you feel about yellow ribbons that 'support pimpin'

barkomomma said...

I disagree.

Mary said...

The best relationship lesson I've learned is that we (the people I'm with) are sharing our experiences of life together. Of all the other people in this world, we are part of each other's lives. Being aware of this usually has me wanting to make the experience good for them, which has a way of making it good for me as well.