He Said… She Said… What Do You Say?

I was recently caught in the middle of a ‘he said/she said’ situation.  Here I was, a non-involved party who just happened to know people on both sides.  It was kinda awkward… both sides were coming to me to try to ‘win me over’ to their side when I really had no idea what had happened leading up to the disagreement. My first reaction was to be a sympathetic listener but to stay out of it.  That was probably a great idea… if the parties involved would let me!  I found that over a period of two days, my actions were being studied by both parties to see which way I was headed! After some thought, I carefully listened to both sides and spoke honestly to each one, delivering the same message.  Eventually, this problem started to come to closure, and I am sure it will be soon forgotten.  However, what have I learned about this?  It reminded me that whether personal or business, to preserve relationships, it is important to do a few things relentlessly:

  • Don’t take sides in something you have nothing to do with.
  • Be honest but do so in a non-confrontational way, and use (check out a recent post on how using positive language really matters).
  • Stay far away from the rumor mill (not quite the same as word of mouth, but dangerously close!).
  • Communicate with opposing parties in person. Never put something in writing or in an email that is not intended for general consumption.

I happened to be a bystander in this recent problem, but watching it unfold served as a great reminder. Everyone makes mistakes, but not everyone is willing to admit when they are wrong, or have handled something poorly. Sometimes you need to just work through your differences in person until you can reach a point where you agree to disagree.

The most important message here…  you should always consider your relationships over the long haul.  Do not let today’s molehill become the proverbial unsurmountable mountain that will forever damage your relationship.  It just isn’t worth it!