Hi, my name is Ben.
A few weeks ago I was working on a house project. So I went to a home improvement store to get what I needed. But before going in I just sat in my car to have a few moments alone. Well that did not last long because the man who parked next to my car opened his door and hit my door.
Naturally I was a little surprised, and upset. But to even more surprise — he was kind of frustrated that I was even concerned. He kind of shook his head, mumbled something under his breath, and tried to just get in his car and leave.
I remembered going through a GodTools lesson on hostile conversations. And I asked him this question, “Did I do something to offend you?” And he said “yes” and that people make too big of a deal about small things.
Even though he was the one who hit my car, I swallowed my pride and said, “I’m so sorry for offending you. I actually agree with you. But what do you mean by that?”
He ended up sharing that he had a friend who passed away the night before. So immediately I recognized why he was responding the way he was responding. He was angry, and sad.
So I just asked him a few more questions and listened. I was even able to ask a few questions about his own spirituality, his faith background. Because usually these events bring up questions about one’s purpose in relationship with God.
By the end of the conversation, the man I was talking to at the beginning was totally different than at the end. It was a pleasant conversation. He ended up even apologizing for his response and thanked me for listening.
What I learned is that just with a few questions and an apology you can diffuse a hostile conversation. You never know what battles a person is going through in the moment.
And so, that is my conversation story.