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DrasticDreamer's avatar

How difficult do you find always being the bigger person?

Asked by DrasticDreamer (23983points) January 28th, 2015

If you have to deal with someone on a regular basis who has crappy communication skills, is extremely sensitive, and always turns their behavior around on you…

How hard is it for you to be the adult every time? Some people find it difficult, and other people find it easy. What makes it so easy/hard for you? Does your patience level depend on how close with the person you are?

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24 Answers

josie's avatar

Not difficult at all. In fact it is easy.
Just like in sports. Or the Marines.
Play your game.
Don’t let them make you play their game.
One of the fundamentals of leadership, and life in general.

cookieman's avatar

It can be hard for sure. I’m not naturally petty or sensitive, so I’m good with that part. I can be, however, argumentative and biting and cutting. Do while I do mostly resist, and be the bigger person, I have, on occasion, lost control and ripped someone a new one. It can be ugly.

Hypocrisy_Central's avatar

In myself it maybe difficult, but in Christ He gives me way more ability to deal with people like that.

Unbroken's avatar

I’m not always. I make mistakes behave rashly at times. It isn’t for naught however. It can make me more patient or understanding of the other individual.

Some people are easily dealt with. I find they only have the power over me I give them. I also find the trick is not to get wrapped up in other people’s frustration that is also linked to them. They feed the fire. Realizing that means you can be a sympathetic ear. It also gives an opportunity for perspective without getting ramped up into making a mountain of mole hills. Into believing you are justified for getting in the dirt and rolling in it.

Earthbound_Misfit's avatar

It does depend who it is and the circumstances. I can’t recall losing it at work but I certainly have in my personal life. Some people, and this is particularly within my personal life, just know how to push my buttons. I regret it when I do lose my cool but it happens on occasions. It’s more likely to happen if I’m stressed.

DrasticDreamer's avatar

I’d like to clarify that no one is the bigger person 100% of the time – I just meant in general, when dealing with a specific person, where you know that you are the bigger person most of the time. (I definitely find myself getting frustrated more easily with the people who matter the most to me. Safe communication is really big deal to me, and it’s gets really hard when I feel like the other person doesn’t care about it and acts really immature.)

Cruiser's avatar

It can be hard in that I have my owns tasks to deal with and more often than not someone/child/wife/employee will ambush you with a crisis of their own and it takes a good deal of resolve to drop everything and even reschedule your plans to do what is needed to listen, talk through and help assist this person with what they approached you with.

I have never found it easy to turn my back on a person who is having a moment and wanting support during a difficult moment…I would rather pick them up, give them encouragement and send them back to address, solve, or drop everything and help them finish what ever it is that took them down a notch.

Berserker's avatar

I don’t find it hard at all, because I dislike confrontation and petty feuds, which are usually the results of such occurences, otherwise. Although I suppose that depends on the person you’re dealing with.

Earthbound_Misfit's avatar

@DrasticDreamer, I totally understand ‘who’ you’re talking about. The person I was discussing, and it really was one person in particular, knew how to upset me and would deliberately do things to upset me. While most of the time I managed to keep my cool, he knew how to push and needle and there were times when it worked. I’m not proud of those occasions. I think it’s harder to be the bigger person when it’s an emotional situation and you’re being hurt. Interestingly, now my feelings for him are pretty much non-existent, he’s lost that power.

Mariah's avatar

Despite my question, I’m pretty good with this up to a point. I get satisfaction over a “moral” victory I guess – coming away from a conflict feeling good about how I behaved, whether I got the last word in or not – which helps.

But I’m also not somebody who will let other people abuse me so I do stick up for myself when I feel I am in the right. And that can lead to bad behavior if I’ve been worn down and frustrated.

chinchin31's avatar

I find it difficult because usually the person is older than me and I just feel like why are you not at the same maturity level as me… You should be.
Sometimes it is annoying because it is awkward sometimes telling someone that is older than you that they are an idiot.

Coloma's avatar

I’m pretty good at being diplomatic and am very aware and intuitive about others, as well as being pretty self aware, I don’t project my stuff onto others at all, ever, and am very aware when I am being projected upon.
The question for me is how much do I CARE about working things out with others?
The answer, not much these days. I just want peace, if you’re high maintenance just move along, you’re blocking my sunset. lol

Seriously, I like people but I can walk away easily and never look back.
I have let go of 3 long term friends in the last 8 or 9 years and I never think about any of them. When I’m done I’m done. Over and out.

Buttonstc's avatar

I’m a firm believer in the principle that we teach others how to treat us (by what we allow or refuse to allow ) and I don’t have a problem being quietly assertive and lettingbsomeone know if they’re crossing boundaries.

If someone is grieving a recent death or poor health I generally cut them a bit more slack but I just find it pointless to continue an ongoing relationship with someone who is continuously toxic.

They either need to modify that crap or go dump it on somebody else cuz I’m not up for continuing in that pattern.

In my younger more naive years I used to be the one who felt obligated to help out everybody all the time. Oprah had an interesting name for it: the disease to please.

I have since matured a bit and know how to set boundaries because being a living doormat can become quite exhausting.

Nowadays, even tho I still genuinely enjoy helping people out, I have no problem saying No when necessary (particularly if someone insists on continually taking advantage.)

I just no longer feel the necessity of always being the bigger person like I did when I was younger. Healthy relationships need balance. If someone is incapable of that I have no problem withdrawing from that relationship, permanently if necessary. I wasn’t put on this Earth to be anyones permanent doormat.

Coloma's avatar

@Buttonstc Well said, I concur. Maturity is a great thing.

JLeslie's avatar

I’m so-so at this skill. My temper gets in the way sometimes. It really depends how emotionally invested I am.

Really crappy communication skills I get tired of fast. Especially, if they don’t understand the pitfalls of communication, and are easily defensive. Eventually I do my best to interact with them
less and let them be right if it is something that in the end won’t really affect my life.

Someone who is extremely sensitive I guess I do the same thing eventually. It can be like walking on egg shells with them.

I don’t think of it as a moral high ground in those instances. In the first case, communication skills, I tend to think they are ignorant or not very smart and just can’t understand. Sometimes they are neither of those, but just too emotional and harmed by their past to be patient and sort through communication snafus. Then I usually can get to a place in my head where argument is pointless and accept their abilities and limitations, just like I accept when someone is paralyzed and can’t walk.

People who are overly sensitive often have had very bad experiences and I try to have empathy for that. It helps me stay calm.

tinyfaery's avatar

Hmm. I dislike the moniker of the “bigger person”. Often times the bigger person is scared, or weak, or…hell, any number of things. It’s not always as it seems.

I don’t have a lot of people around me who are assholes. No one ever tries to push my buttons. Odd seeing that I work for attorneys.

We did hire a new attorney recently who tried to strong arm me, but I shut down that shit right away.

One of my co-workers is always complaining about some of the attorneys and the way they behave, but she just takes it. I guess she would seem like the “bigger person”, but in reality it wears on her and makes her hate her job. I have no such problem.

I’d rather be the “smaller person” with no stress or regrets than miserable and constantly complaining.

Blackberry's avatar

I’m starting to learn that, compared to others I apparently have the patience of a saint.

I can kill with kindness like a kindness assassin.

DrasticDreamer's avatar

@JLeslie I agree with you that they, a lot of times, tend to have deeper issues (and I try to be understanding of that, because lord knows my childhood didn’t make me the best communicator [though in a different way] and it’s something that I very actively have had to work on).

And @tinyfaery I do agree with you, too. I didn’t know how to phrase it, but I guess I could have said ”... someone that’s extremely difficult to communicate with”, in the sense that I want to get somewhere in a conversation, discuss things calmly and safely, not be called names, etc.

Earthbound_Misfit's avatar

People do seem to see being the ‘bigger person’ in different ways. To me it’s handling confronting people in a mature, calm way. Being able to choose not to engage or having the confidence to walk away. I see this as quite distinct as accepting someone putting crap on you or being afraid to speak up when someone is abusing you. How do you define ‘being the bigger person’ @DrasticDreamer?

DrasticDreamer's avatar

@Earthbound_Misfit Remaining calm so that an actual discussion can take place and a solution to the problem can be reached. It’s impossible to actually get anywhere when someone becomes so defensive and angry that they stop listening or even devolve into name-calling (when they were the ones to be rude in the first place, especially, and get angry about being called out for their behavior). In my ideal world, two adults should be allowed to be upset at each other without fear of being screamed at, put down, called names, etc. :-/

Earthbound_Misfit's avatar

I agree @DrasticDreamer. Thanks for your definition.

JLeslie's avatar

@DrasticDreamer I took one communications class in college and a few psych classes. The communications class was great. I really began to understand how communication works. Psych helped me understand how screwed up our memories can be. I can’t tell you how many times my husband thinks I said something when I didn’t. Just said minutes before he remembers what I said in a totally different way.

Also, people who have been abused I find usually are very very black and white thinking. There is a right and a wrong and they have less tolerance for disagreement, and less ability or desire to empathize with someone who has hurt them. I don’t mean to empathize with an abuser, I mean even in every day conflict. It’s understandable. They get triggered.

DrasticDreamer's avatar

@JLeslie Definitely. Coming from an abusive background, I can identify with certain aspects of what you say. For the most part, when I was growing up I completely walled off my emotions and never let anyone know how important they were to me, because it made me feel to unsafe and vulnerable.

But yes, the ways in which abuse can determine behavior are many.

JLeslie's avatar

I don’t feel I was abused as a child, even though some might argue I lived with some verbal abuse. I do feel abused in adulthood by doctors and it has greatly affected me. I can see how I have changed from it. I think I can step outside of my irrational behavior when it happens easier than someone who was abused as a child, because I know what my normal used to be.

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