An old memory came to me while I was trying to find quick, new, fresh examples for a QBQ! session for Water Street Solutions. I’ve been honored to be their after dinner keynote speaker for the AgEdge series of seminars across the Midwest this winter, and I was preparing for my third one.
This old memory involved my vacuum cleaner.
Do you ever just want to complain? And even more than that, do you ever just want to vent? Be overly dramatic? I do. Often.
I’ve always been a little bit of an actress, always had a dramatic flair. So when I was home one day a few years back, struggling to work our new vacuum cleaner, my frustration levels heightened to the point where I just needed to scream! I was home alone, so I’m pretty sure I did scream. And then I text my husband:
“This. vacuum. cleaner. SUCKS.”
And I waited. And waited. And waited. Because, you see, I knew exactly what I’d done and I’d done it intentionally. I had set him up perfectly to mock me with a statement like, “Well of course it does honey–It’s a vacuum cleaner!” Or something like that.
And I wanted him to, so that I could fire back some comment about how mean he was, and how that’s exactly what I didn’t need him to say …
Have you ever done that? Purposefully tried to escalate something for the sake of the drama?
Please don’t tell me I’m the only one.
Well, my husband did finally text back. But he wisely chose to diffuse the situation and simply said, “Babe, I’m so sorry! When I get home, I’ll help you figure it out.”
I was stunned. Stymied in my attempt to have a fight. To spur some drama.
Choosing, in that moment, to respond the way he did, diffused all the tension, diverted my flare up of frustration, and ended up having me laughing at myself and my pathetic attempt to get attention.
My stint with the vacuum cleaner taught me how silly it is to stir up drama, and how easy it can be to diffuse a potential fight. Carefully chosen words, benign phrases, and loving responses are often all I need to shake me out of my dramatic flare, and back down into reality.
Of course the vacuum cleaner sucks–that’s what it should do!!