I was entirely too practiced at avoidance behavior in my younger years. I can readily admit this now because my boys are beyond the point at which they can use this against me in their own arguments. Time after time I would convince myself that it was easier to miss my curfew than stop making my way home and call to announce my tardiness and face immediate wrath. (This was long before cell phones.)
What I know now and could not, could not get through my thick skull back then was that the ire was most likely made exponentially greater by my avoidance tactics. I would promise myself as I endured whatever fallout came from my stupidity that I would learn this time. I would give advance notice. (Missing curfew was pretty much a given if I wanted a social life – I didn’t have a car and my curfew was by far the earliest among my friends. Sleep-overs were a win-win solution that I did employ as often as possible.) Time after time in the heat of the moment, I would ignore my resolve and avoid the confrontation until I arrived home.
But we’re all adults and we don’t have curfews. No, but we have bosses and clients and co-workers who all have expectations of us. And some among us simply cannot, cannot seem to believe that facing the issue is the best means (outside of heading off the issue in the first place) of lessening the fallout.
While raising my boys, I sowed many different seeds on the wrong-headedness of avoidance as a viable choice for solution. I promised to hold my tongue and offer a lower or even no punishment if they would come forward and tell me right away. As a manager, I was always frustrated when I would have to have similar conversations with an employee.
There are plenty of lessons that must legitimately be relearned because the tools or rules have changed – i.e. the newest Microsoft Office product which is always just a bit scrambled from our previous understanding comes to mind. If there are any examples when avoidance actually worked, I don’t know about them.
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