Hard Lesson at the Hard Rock

Posted By on April 19th

A few months ago, I decided to surprise Elisa with tickets to see Billy Joel in concert at the Hard Rock in Hollywood, Florida. She and I have been huge fans for 30 years, and we have both seen Billy Joel multiple times. Of course, it was one of the common interests that attracted us to each other. We were both thrilled about the opportunity to see him again.

As the concert’s evening drew closer, I discovered that my friend, Ricky, who doesn’t live near us, would be attending the concert as well. I told Elisa the additional exciting news, and I mentioned it a couple of more times before the date of the concert.

On the date of the concert, Ricky walked up to us at the Hard Rock, and Elisa gleefully proclaimed in surprise, “I didn’t know we were going to see you!” Elisa has a tendency to not always listen and to forget things.

Later, when we were alone, Elisa asked me, “Did you know we were going to see Ricky?”

I could have clearly expressed my feelings. I could have said I felt embarrassed when Ricky perceived that he wasn’t important enough for me to tell my wife that we would be seeing him. I could have told her that I feel frustrated when she doesn’t pay attention to the things I tell her.

I could have requested a specific action from her. I could have asked her to let me know when she’s distracted during our conversations. I could have asked her to let me know when she needs me to repeat something for her.

Instead of any of those better ideas, I responded to Elisa’s question by snapping somewhat sarcastically, “I told you at least three times.”

Certainly, this was not the correct way to clearly articulate to her my feelings and needs. Not surprisingly, my message blew past her unnoticed as she became defensive. Elisa responded with something along the lines of, “Ok, jerk. Now answer my question.”

About the author

Keith Grossman helps individuals and businesses negotiate and manage conflict more comfortably. Keith is a Collaborative Attorney, a Family and Circuit Civil mediator certified by the Supreme Court of Florida, an Arbitrator qualified by the Florida Supreme Court, and an educator. Keith frequently lectures and facilitates training programs, works with individuals one-on-one, and writes articles on conflict management and negotiation topics. His e-workbooks, “What Is A Peace Chest?” and “How Do You Build A Peace Chest?“ are now available on Kindle.


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