Recently my friend has parked a car on a narrow parking slot in a city in a way that would block a free passing of another car. It was the only possible place, though.
Since it was a night time and meant for a 5-10 min stay only, the chances of a car coming or leaving that parking place were slim. Nevertheless, as life goes on, it happened. My friend had left the car for 10 minutes.
When we arrived at the car, we were greeted from a distance by a furious driver whom we indeed blocked (so he could not get in to the parking place). He was clearly agitated and out of balance. He was shouting at us about our stupidity and irresponsibility. His language was strong and it was the fact. His emotional state did not match the seriousness of “our offense”. Clearly, he had to have a bad day to react so strongly to this inconvenience.
In the worst case scenario the guy could have obviously looked for another parking place, leaving us a note of how unthoughtful we were. But he didn’t. He allowed the steam to go up and cherished his state of agitation. In such moments it is hard to stay calm. The atmosphere gets immediately stirred up and the volcano in a complainer is about to erupt. My friend immediately raised the tone of voice in order to respond to the “same wavelength”.
In a split of a second I saw what was about to happen – an emotional battle of shouts and perhaps cursing – and I reacted fast.
What did I do?
I simply admitted all the facts.
Yes, the car was left in an inconvenient place, we blocked him, it was for a short stay but we did not leave any notice saying that we would be back at say 10:30pm nor left any mobile number to call in need. It was irresponsible from our side. Then I apologized for the trouble we caused him. I did it in a calm voice and said we were really sorry for the trouble. And I meant that.
After a moment of silence, an amazing thing happened.
The guy got quiet and and after a silent moment he said to me with a big relief “I really thank you for understanding me”.
Then we both departed in peace. No quarrels. No shouting. No conflict.
Here comes a little pearl of wisdom. People who complain want to be understood.
Seek to understand. Apply it to your life. Your life will become peaceful.
Photo credit Fougerouse Arnaud, available under Creative Commons on Flickr.