“When I’m angry.....”

When I’m angry, or when I sense anger towards me from another person, I try to sort it out as quickly as possible. It works best face-to-face. Next best is over the telephone. The worst medium is e-mail.

This is never, never easy, and I spent earlier decades of my life avoiding anger -- my own as well as others, but the result was that the air sometimes was never again clear with that person. In years past, I was afraid to ask, but I was left with unresolved feelings: uncertainty for sure, and fear, and sometimes anger.

The reward for saying “What you said made me upset,” or “Did something I say upset you?” is that immediately there’s authentic connection with the other person and a good chance that the misunderstanding or perceived unkindness can be quickly sorted out. The unspoken message is: “It’s important to me that you and I have good communication.”

A brief, sincere apology is always appropriate, and will increase good feelings on both sides. To insist that the other person misunderstood what I said and shouldn't have bad feelings will only increase and prolong the hurt.

- Doug Buck, Chair