Tyler Vendetti
September 26, 2014 6:42 am

If given the choice between confronting a problem head on or passively shoving it under the rug in the hopes that it will go away, I will choose the latter around 90 percent of the time. It’s not that I enjoy putting myself in hopeless situations; if I wanted to do that, I could just as easily sign up for the gym or go to a Zumba class. Rather, I believe in the notion that “if it’s not broke, don’t fix it. . . and if it’s broke, try to work around it so you don’t have to call a mechanic or order a new one.” Logic always takes a backseat to my unrealistic need to please everyone, creating situations that regular, confrontational people never seem to understand. For example:

1. Declaring neutrality in every situation is always the safest option

Switzerland had the right idea when it proclaimed “armed neutrality” during WWI and II. While refraining from picking a side means you don’t get to share in the rewards of the winning team, it also means you never run the risk of having to deal with the anger and resentment that come with losing. If you announce your neutrality right from the start, your friends will never look to you for the tie-breaking vote in any heated situation.

2. “We need to talk” is the most stressful combination of words in existence

On the spectrum of anxiety-inducing phrases, “we need to talk” takes the top spot, alongside “can I ask you a question” and “there’s an asteroid headed towards Earth.” The inability to express tone over the Internet automatically makes this phrase sound more foreboding than it actually is. Maybe your mom just wants to talk to you about what kind of car you want for your birthday. Maybe your professor wants to tell you that “George Foreman” actually was the answer to every problem on your last exam. Maybe your boss wants to promote you for Snapchatting a picture of you sleeping at your desk. You never know.

3. Canceling something over the phone should be avoided at all costs

A few years ago, I called to make an appointment at a new nail salon only to find out after hanging up the phone I had booked a time at a salon across the country. I couldn’t bring myself to cancel the appointment, and not only because I refused to admit to some woman that I had confused Arlington, MA with Arlington, TX, but because doing so would require that I pick up the phone and talk to her again. Anyone with a fear of confrontation knows that writing a letter and having a messenger deliver it on horseback would be easier than canceling a commitment over the phone, or really, canceling anything at all.

4. You’d rather have five different names than correct everyone who has said it wrong

I learned to start embracing my alternative names when my 9th grade science teacher called me Taylor on the last day of class. Some people are bad with names and I don’t have the heart to tell them, especially after the second or third time, that my name is not “Sarah” or “Amy” or “Dorkface.”

5. Your worst nightmare is having to send food back at a restaurant

It’s one thing to send your salad back if you didn’t like the way the lettuce looked on the plate, but it’s another to send it back because it’s covered in something you’re allergic to or it’s not the dish you ordered. While most of the time, you can pick off whatever food item was wrongly added to your meal, occasionally, you’re handed a burger when you had ordered a steak or a live chicken when you had ordered soup and you have no other choice but to wave the waiter over and prepare for the worst.

6. Creating massive inconveniences for yourself are preferable to discussing your problems

Having a fight with your roommate? Why not start that novel you’ve always wanted to write and sleep over in the library? Are you angry with your significant other? Why not move to the other side of the world and join a nunnery? Can’t finish your homework assignment? You didn’t want that degree, anyway. You can solve any problem you encounter by simply uprooting your entire life and avoiding the issue entirely.

7. Battling for a seat on the train is not worth the 30 minutes of comfort

Don’t let anyone tell you that getting on the train is not a competitive race, because it most definitely is. When those doors open, you have one of two options: maneuver through the cluster of arms and legs in order to steal one of the open seats, or wait until the rest of the crowd has stepped in and hope that you can squeeze into the remaining space before the doors close.

8. Sometimes, confrontation is necessary

The worst part of it all is that sometimes, no matter where you hide or how skillfully you side-step an issue, confrontation can be the only way to resolve a problem. When this happens, your only choice is to close your eyes, take a deep breath, and recite the mental script that you spent three days preparing. Who knows? Maybe it won’t be so bad.

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