Maintaining Middle Ground

With some people, there doesn’t ever seem to be a middle ground.  Everything is black or white, all or nothing.  Either you’re on their side or completely against them.  I definitely know more than one person who fits this description, and it makes communication quite difficult sometimes.

One of the things that is difficult is trying to get a point across without them over-interpreting things as I sometimes call it, is the fact that they tend to interpret things as being one extreme or the other.  And unfortunately, the worst possible interpretation seems to be the one of choice most of the time.  One example is having gotten to the point where I felt I needed to express a little frustration to a friend recently about a couple particular things, but that meant to her that I completely dislike her.  So either I like every single thing about her or I don’t like her at all.  There’s no middle ground where I like most everything about her except a couple things that have annoyed me over the years.  Also, if I didn’t back her up 100% when she was complaining about an issue with her husband, than I was 100% on his side, which was definitely not the case.  I simply saw that she might have contributed to the problem, but in her mind it was all him all the time, and she didn’t want to hear otherwise.  I could give plenty of other examples pertaining to my kids and other people I know, too.

I have also noticed a pattern with reactions to things for the same people.  It’s one extreme or the other as well, but perhaps more often a negative one that might be considered over-reacting.   That also makes communication difficult because too often situations escalate into arguments or disagreements that shouldn’t involve much conflict, if any at all.   And a lot of that has to do with the extreme interpretations of things that get said and their unwillingness to listen to the other person.

It’s very difficult for the same people to consider a compromise as well.  They like to have things their way or done on their schedule and get upset if it doesn’t happen that way.  They stand their ground in pretty much every situation and are not willing to listen to other ideas or suggestions.  Sometimes the more extreme reactions come into play here too, and the person comes across as a spoiled kid, even if they are an adult.

Even in politics, it seems like the extremes are the way to go.  There is much less of a middle ground in congress than there used to be because fewer elected officials are moderates and more are considered extremely to the left or right.  We all know how well this is working out with getting the two sides to work together to accomplish anything.  The concepts of compromise, listening to other side, and working together have gone out the window, and it’s more about standing one’s ground, getting one’s way, and bashing the other side.  Seems like a bunch of spoiled kids to me!

My point in sharing this isn’t just to complain but perhaps shed some light on the importance of being a little more open-minded and willing to see things from a different perspective that isn’t necessarily one extreme or the other.  Very few things are cut and dry or black and white. There are always the grey areas to consider.  I sometimes need a reminder about these things myself.  I hope you will join me in trying to be more open to meeting in the middle. It’s not a bad place to be!

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