When Personalities Collide

By Rachel Schwarz

Over Halloween weekend, I went to Austin to spend the weekend with a good friend from high school. We often joke that we shouldn’t be friends because we’re too alike. One of our similarities comes in the form of a stubborn personality. We differ, however, in our ideas of relaxing.

I always like to have something to do, while my friend prefers to spend his weekends sleeping in and avoiding all activity. Needless to say, by Saturday afternoon, we were driving each other crazy. We had each independently prepared for vastly different weekend experiences.

So what’s the best way to contend with a stubborn personality? I advise strongly against taking the approach that my friend and I did: namely, a screaming match in the middle of his apartment complex’s dog park. We both would have benefitted from taking a step back from a tense situation, taking each other’s ideas into account and then re-evaluating.

Many of us become set in our ways and forget that it’s important to remain open to a variety of options and ideas. While my friend relaxed, I left to go pick up food and run some errands. Even though we weren’t together for the entire weekend, we were both able to calm down during our time apart.

Remember that the person across the table or on the other end of the phone might be stubborn, in the middle of a terrible day, or just simply rude. Be conscious of how you may be coming across, and remember that you may need to adjust your own expectations of a situation in order to more effectively communicate with someone. People respond differently, and while you can’t change anyone else, you can alter your own reactions in a specific environment.

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