Don’t Blame Me–Blame Where I’m From!

14 Apr

Here in Hawaii, we’re a melting pot of sorts. You’ll find mainland transplants (like me), locals who’ve been nowhere else, and lots of foreign transplants who are either here on business or have made Hawaii their home. But, I’m getting pretty good at nailing down who comes from where–by their conflict style.

So far, I’ve lived in the South (Georgia), the Deep South (Mississippi), the Mid-South (South Carolina), the Northwest (Idaho), the West (Nevada), the Midwest (Illinois), and Hawaii. And, it’s become a hobby of mine to study people’s different conflict styles whenever I land myself in a new place. And, here’s what I’ve discovered: conflict style and geography isn’t really a problem–unless you find yourself having a conflict foreign territory. conflict styles

For example, I have a soft-spoken friend from Texas who’s chosen to live here and recently had a conflict with a mainland transplant from New Jersey. Whereas my friend would rather gnaw off her toe than create conflict, the New Jersey transplant doesn’t have a problem with conflict and “telling it like it is.” As we discussed what happened, we both agreed that place-of-origin matters here. OF COURSE, our New Jersey acquaintance felt comfortable with conflict–she had grown up in a culture that embraced it. But, my Texas friend? Yikes! Let’s just say the whole thing made her uncomfortable!

In the end, though, the acknowledgement that different places breed different attitudes (generally speaking) helped both parties understand their conflict better. Just as we don’t all grow up in the same family-of-origin, so too we don’t all grow up in the same place. So, let’s acknowledge our differences and appreciate them!


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