Tough Lesson Learned

23 Jul

Dear LetterBalm: I overheard two mothers from my son’s baseball team refer to me as “pushy and obnoxious.” They turned around and, when they realized I had heard what they said, they got flustered and embarrassed. I was so mortified, I mumbled a goodbye and quickly gathered up my son and fled. I don’t know how to handle this. My husband has been taking our son to the games since then, but I’m going to have to see them eventually. I do want to find out why they think so negatively about me – I really want to know, but I’m at a loss as to how to overcome the awkwardness. How can I broach this?

–Red-Faced

Ms. L.B. says you should consider this a fortunate life lesson.  How often do we get the opportunity to know what someone really thinks of us? First, take inventory. Is there reason for you to be called “pushy and obnoxious”? Do you advance your son to the detriment of his teammates? Do you see his failings as well as his successes? Do you baby him? Are you rude to the umpires or the coach? Do you push you own agenda (refreshment schedule, car pool rotations)? Do you allow for all opinions to be heard? Do you criticize others’ parenting? Conduct this behavior review so you’ll be prepared. Then, ask for a private moment with the two mothers. Be direct and polite. Try this:

Elaine and Connie, I was disappointed to overhear your opinion of me, and I want to make things right. Please, I really want you to be honest with me and tell me what it is that annoys you. I won’t hold it against you to tell me the truth, I promise. It may be that I can correct my behavior, and you know I will try hard. Or, it may be that it’s a fact of that you don’t like me. That’s OK, even if I’m sad about it. I sincerely hope we can pull together for the sake of friendship and our sons and our team.

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