Monday, May 2, 2011

Tick... Tick... Tick... BOOM!

I'm having another writer's block day today. Failing to come up with anything new or witty to write about, I took a dive into the electronic archives to see if I could find some useful material to share with you. As usual, I found something funny yet on point.

Today's post was written by "Dad" Brent Richards and is meant to be taken lightheartedly. It tackles the issue of conflict resolution from a different angle than normal. For the sarcastically impaired:  This essay is an example of irony … saying the opposite of what you mean to make a point.  If you actually do the things suggested in this essay, you will lose most of your friends, and your Chapter may very well fall apart. Don’t say you weren’t warned! On to the article!

Imagine a calm and rational Chapter where disagreements are handled fairly and quickly, where resentment and in-fighting are not allowed to build into flaring tempers and rash words.  What fun is that?  Here’s some sure-fire ways to make sure your Chapter doesn’t get stuck in such a boring fight-free environment:

1. Don’t discuss disagreements.  Just let them simmer for months at a time.  This is particularly helpful if you assume that the other party “ought to know” how you feel.

2. When you must discuss disagreements, get personal.  Attack the other side, calling them names, if possible.
3. Portray the other person’s opinion in the worst way possible.  Your ideas aren’t “different,” they’re “right.”  Their ideas are “stupid.”  In fact, not only is the idea stupid, so is anyone who would suggest it.

4.   Never allow for middle ground.  Every problem has to end with a “my way” or “your way” solution.  There is no such thing as “our way.”

5. Raise your voice and swear a lot.  If you start getting angry, avoid taking deep breaths, or pausing to think about your words before you say them.  Say it when you think it, before you decide not to.  Some people are in the bad habit of getting out of a situation and taking time to “cool down” –if you must distance yourself, at least make a show of “walking out.”  Better yet, storm out of the room, slamming at least two doors behind you (if there is only one door, I recommend slamming it twice).

6. Take everything personally.  Everyone with a different opinion is obviously doing it just to make you mad.

7. Practice “Mind Reading” – Waiting for someone to explain their ideas is a waste of time.  You already know why they did or thought what they did, so don’t be mislead by explanations or details.  It might help to tell them you know their motives, like “We all know you’re just doing this to kiss up to the Advisors.”

8. When you can’t discuss, ridicule.  Sometimes you just won’t be able to think of a reasonable objection to the other guy’s perspective.  Don’t despair.  You can always just make fun of him.  Most people can’t tell the difference between a good argument and a good jab anyway.

9.   Interrupt whenever possible.  This keeps your opponent on their toes, makes them mad, and prevents any accidental reaching of consensus.

10. Don’t stick to the topic.  Any disagreement is a great opportunity to tell your foe everything else you don’t like about them.  See item 2.

11. Indulge in some archeology.  If the current situation doesn’t seem to be providing you with sufficient ammunition, go digging.  Bring up every past flaw or failure you can think of to make your opponent feel like dirt and look like an idiot.

12. Always disagree publicly.  Correcting a mistake or disagreement in private is far too constructive.  The middle of an open meeting, especially with important guests present, is a much better opportunity.  And, on a related note…

13. Go behind people’s backs.  There is nothing better than blindsiding your opponent… let them think you agree, but tell everyone else you don’t.  Complain to other people about them instead of discussing your concerns with them directly.  Alternately, “go over their head” to a higher authority without telling them.  Spread rumors.

14. Blame!  “This is your fault” or “If this fails, we’re gonna have you to thank” are great lines.  You can even blame somebody else for your own failures (“I wouldn’t have had to do that if you hadn’t…”) or your emotions (“You make me mad” is the correct phrase.  “I am angry right now” is not acceptable… it shows far too much willingness to accept personal responsibility).

15. Divide and Conquer.  Make every effort to get people on “your side” and to alienate people on “their side.”  Watch out for people who try not to take sides.  They are very dangerous to the cause of discord and dispute, and tend to have serious calming effects on everyone involved.

With these few simple rules, you can almost certainly prevent the outbreak of unwanted cooperation and unity in your Chapter.  If you can’t keep conflict going with these methods, then you’re obviously too stupid to be involved in a good fight, and that’s not my fault.  But call me anyway, so I can make fun of you.

So, what are you doing to help your Chapter implode? Oh, wait...

Frat! ~ "Dad" Seth Anthony

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