We'll be the first to admit that we're polar opposites in many ways- especially when it comes to our conflict resolution tactics. Lisa takes pride in her ability to *cough* persuade people to do what she wants. And Liz prefers a gentler approach--coddling her subjects into submission. And even though we'd been friends for twenty years, we never really thought about how different we were until we went into business together. Let's just say that nothing brings out personality differences like negotiating contracts or designing a web page! Liz's answer to getting what we needed always involved some form of "sweet talk" paired with a non fat latte... and Lisa's first choice was to run in, guns blazin' and flat out demand it.
But it wasn't until we had several botched attempts at conflict resolution with one particularly frustrating individual (so stressful that we both sought out acupuncture after) that we decided it was time to embrace our differences and use them to our advantage. Now when a problem needs to be resolved, we strategize like we're CIA agents headed out on a mission. Who should we send to the front lines of the battle? The fast talkin', Ass Kickin' Aries or the sweet talkin' Ass Kissin' Libra?
Lisa: ASS KICKER
I'm a natural born ASS KICKER. I'm an Aries. Need I say more?
I don't sugar coat and really, really suck at it when I try (Liz can attest to this). I don't have a problem saying that one little word that can make any ASS KISSER cringe--No. My desire to get something off my chest can often win out over things like when I confront you. (Sorry about the times I've had a Come to Jesus with you before you've had your coffee, or worse, before I've had mine.)
I don't like conflict, but I won't go to the ends of the Earth to avoid it either. Especially if someone I loved has been wronged! So because I'm fiercely loyal, this "fiery ram" will often be the first in line to offer to kick ass for you. I'm not a physical person, so don't expect it to be a literal ass kick... but you can definitely count on me to drop the bee-yotch to her knees with words. (They don't tell me I should've been a lawyer for nothing!) My ass kicking services are also often called upon by friends. Need a disputed credit card charge handled? I'm your man. Wish that guy would get the hint and stop calling? Give me his number. And need to tell that friend she can't bring her annoying cousin to the party? I'll handle it.
So you might find it ironic that I surround myself with ASS KISSERS/PEOPLE PLEASERS. Maybe it's because I'm so envious of their way of life. Their ability to make friends with anyone is amazing! (The barista at Starbucks! The owner of the local shipping store! Their neighbors!) The word "yes" rolls off their tongues with such ease! And they care if people like them!
Recently, I was bitching to Liz about someone I planned to confront the next day and she suggested that I "freeze them" instead.
"You know that's not my style," I said to her matter-of-factly, as we ass kickers tend to do. If someone pisses me off, I generally tell them--to their face. I don't say it to a piece of paper and then stick it next to the ice cubes. But I admit I was intrigued. Could I really resolve conflict without confrontation? So, because I'm a girl who likes to get the most bang for my buck, I asked Liz if I could freeze three other people at the same time (Figured I'd try to knock a few peeps off my s***t list while I was at it).
"Freeze the world if you want!" She said with a lightness in her voice. (Her own recent freeze had gone really, really well, she explained.)
So I did. I froze the s**t out of those four people and I'm happy to report that my non-confrontational conflict resolution was a smashing success! A Ziploc freeze is probably the closest I'm going to get to crossing over to the other side--- for now. But hey, baby steps, right?
Liz: ASS KISSER
Although I much prefer the term "confrontation challenged", I'm not afraid to admit that I want you to like me. As a Libra, I'm always striving for harmony, whether it be at work or home. That's not to say that I can't stick up for myself! It's just that if I'm calling and confronting you that means the shit has really hit the fan and you should run for cover immediately.
And Ass kissing is an art, my friends. It must be subtle and effortless, like a beautiful ballet. Lisa likes to throw around the term "people pleaser" and I know she's talking about me. And it's true, I don't want you hatin' on me. I don't want to go through life with my fists up like Popeye, waiting for the next battle. I LOVE to give the benefit of the doubt. I NEVER stay mad for more than 24 hours. I care what Raj over at Mailboxes Etc. thinks of my new haircut. And although I realize a small dose of skepticism would do me good, I still like to believe that the homeless guy on the corner is really going to start a new life rather than buy drugs with the five dollars I just handed him.
But the reason that the ASS KICKER/ASS KISSER relationship works is because they need each other. The ASS KICKER will act as bulldog for the ASS KISSER should a "situation" arise. (And by situation, I mean yell at someone when the ASS KISSER is too scared to do it herself.) And she always makes the ASS KISSER think twice about just whether she should really just "let something go" because she'd rather avoid confrontation than stand up for what's right. Most importantly, I've never met an ASS KICKER that wasn't an incredibly loyal friend. (Well, until you piss them off...)
But the ASS KISSER comes through in the clutch too. She will often talk the ASS KICKER down from the ledge and make her consider the other side of the story. Maybe that person was having a bad day when she called you a bitchface and threw an iced latte in your face? And the ASS KISSER is also a fantastic wingman in any social situation! She can have an enlightening conversation with a brick wall if she has to. Because it's a total score if she can get that brick wall to like her too!
So ASS KICKERS and ASS KISSERS, we think you really do need each other. So stop your bickering, unite and celebrate your differences! *group hug*
xoxo, Liz & Lisa