ES2007S Blog Post 2- Resolving Interpersonal Conflict

I once read a book called ‘Difficult Conversations‘ by Bruce Patton, Sheila Heen and Roger Fisher.
The most common trend in the book was the seemingly trivial nature of the issues that led to serious problems and I never understood why this was the case. Until a few months back, that is..

I share a wall at Prince George’s Park Residences with a Pakistani classmate and friend. While we knew each other thanks to sharing a few common modules before, being neighbors meant we saw a lot more of each other. All went well until my stereo system started bothering him. I have a set of Altec Lansing speakers, with a woofer (which provides the bass sounds – thudding, vibrations etc for the not-so-musically inclined) and often, these seep through the rather thin walls.

He mentioned it a few times and I tried turning it down (to no avail, as he could never hear the music, but could feel the vibrations and the woofer bass could not be turned down in my speaker model). Trying to turn it down didn’t help me either as I could barely hear the music now and yet, it never solved the problem anyway. It was only a matter of time before the situation became untenable for the both of us. He found it increasingly hard to keep bothering me as we had shared a positive relationship while I hated the fact that I was being such a troublesome neighbor.

We tried many solutions like having ‘loud music hour’s‘ wherein I was allowed to play music as I pleased between 7-9pm in the evening. However, even this came crashing down after a while like all the other ideas.

As time passed, the situation became virtually hellish for the both of us. Additionally, let me also illustrate two unsaid factors in this situation.

– Thanks to my (late) father, who was a wonderful singer and a BIG music fan, the first thing that I shop for, when getting ready for life in a new place, is a stereo speaker set and a day without music for me would be a very long and frustrating one.

– The India-Pakistan rivalry is a deeply ingrained rivalry. It would be comparable to the Israel-Palestine rivalry in the International scene. While we have overcome our scripting thanks to 4 years in NUS, we could begin to question this decision and go back to our old paradigm in tough times.

Given this delicate scenario, I am also happy to inform you that we have resolved the issue – albeit with a few compromises.

However, I will leave the story of the resolution for later; after hearing your thoughts on the vital question –

What would you have done in such a situation?

If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster And treat those two impostors just the same..

If you can keep your head when all about you
Are losing theirs and blaming it on you,
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you
But make allowance for their doubting too,
If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
Or being lied about, don’t deal in lies,
Or being hated, don’t give way to hating,
And yet don’t look too good, nor talk too wise:

If you can dream–and not make dreams your master,
If you can think–and not make thoughts your aim;
If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster
And treat those two impostors just the same;
If you can bear to hear the truth you’ve spoken
Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,
Or watch the things you gave your life to, broken,
And stoop and build ‘em up with worn-out tools:

If you can make one heap of all your winnings
And risk it all on one turn of pitch-and-toss,
And lose, and start again at your beginnings
And never breath a word about your loss;
If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew
To serve your turn long after they are gone,
And so hold on when there is nothing in you
Except the Will which says to them: “Hold on!”

If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,
Or walk with kings–nor lose the common touch,
If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you;
If all men count with you, but none too much,
If you can fill the unforgiving minute
With sixty seconds’ worth of distance run,
Yours is the Earth and everything that’s in it,
And–which is more–you’ll be a Man, my son!

– If by Rudyard Kipling..

Aaand it’s time for the Manchester Derby..!

When was the last time I woke up at 4am to watch a Carling Cup match?

When was the last time a Utd-City game had so much rivalry and significance?

Never would be the answer to both..

Good for English football..

And may the best team win! 😀

Note: For those uninitiated – Manchester United vs Manchester City(the new richest club in the world) is the Manchester derby. Derby is a match played within places close by – where the rivalry is shared by the common public who discuss the game at work. For example, imagine an average work-place is manchester where supporters are split between the 2 clubs.. Never are matches played with as much passion. For a Utd fan, watching the City moneybags challenge is bad enough and we need to win this!

Ladies and Gentleman, it’s time for war.