Killing them with kindness
Published 8:09 am Tuesday, February 22, 2022
Dear Aunty Pam,
Boy, I hope you can help me with this problem. I regularly attend a church and serve on two committees. There is an individual also on both committees that just works my last nerve. This person is extremely difficult to deal with: interrupts, isn’t a ‘team-player’ and wants to run everything. We’ve had strong words in the past and now I dread not only going to meetings where I am going to see them, but I don’t even want to attend church anymore.
I go to church because I want to worship and also receive comfort and guidance. But this person has ruined it for me. I don’t want to leave my church, but I just don’t know what to do. Any ideas?
Jesus, hold my tongue!
OK, dearest, here’s the 411 on your situation. This person hasn’t ‘ruined’ anything, but your reaction to them has. Now—don’t get me wrong; the kind of behavior from the person in question makes me, simply from reading your description, want to throw a pillowcase over their head and lock them inside a closet until the end of the meeting. It sounds very much as if they have some pretty big ‘control’ issues and, like so many things, that often comes from raging insecurity. So Aunty Pam says kill ‘em with kindness. Take a box of donuts, cheese straws, chocolates, whatever, to your next meeting. And every time they interrupt, offer them a treat. It’s a bit of reverse psychology and it goes like this:
“Well, I think—“
“Here, Nancy, have a fritter.”
“I don’t want a fritter”
“Sure you do, they’re homemade. Have a fritter.”
“I don’t like these suggestions, what I think we should do is—“
“Have a peep, Ed. They’re so cute this year.”
“I don’t want a peep. I hate peeps, I want—“
“Ed, you have not lived till you’ve had a peep. Now have a peep.”
You can see where this is going. Nancy/Ed will get so fed up with you pushing food to disarm them each time they open their mouth that they’ll eventually shut up.
And if it doesn’t work, feel free to come join the Episcopalian church to drown your sorrows. We offer an open bar during our meetings.