How Can You Not Like BINGO? Use this tool when you feel judged for your preferences
Have you ever observed (or been part of) a conversation that went something like the one below? Pick any topic. This example uses playing BINGO as the point of discussion for different preferences, a rather neutral topic compared to others that may be loaded with more emotion (like politics).
“I don’t understand how you can like playing BINGO! It’s incredibly boring and such a waste of time!” (It sounds like this person doesn’t like BINGO and thinks that anyone who does must be strange.)
Other person, “I like BINGO because it’s entertaining. I can’t imagine how you could think it’s boring!” (You can hear them thinking, You’re just an old fuddy-duddy who’s hard to please.)
Two different people; two different preferences. Each thinks they’re right and that there’s something wrong with the other person. The result can be an argument, hurt feelings, or even damage to the relationship, especially if the topic is emotionally charged.
But what if everyone knew that this is a normal response? That we’re wired to “judge” others when they have different ideas or opinions than us? What if they could tune in and notice how they were feeling?
A great tool is “Name It to Tame It,” first used by child psychiatrist and author Daniel Siegel in helping kids control their emotions. The trick is to pause and observe our emotions and notice how we’re feeling. “I’m feeling defensive because this person doesn’t like the same things as me.” Suddenly we’re able to take the power away from the emotion, which makes it easier to choose how we want to respond. “It’s OK for people not to like the same things I do. We’re all different and that keeps life interesting.”
Give it a try! The next time you’re in a conversation where you have a different opinion than the other person, notice how you’re feeling and name it. See if it isn’t easier to keep the discussion less charged and to stay calm.
Tina Hallis, Ph.D., is a positivity speaker, trainer, author, and founder of The Positive Edge, a company dedicated to teaching organizations and individuals the power of positivity to improve the quality of people’s work lives and the quality of company cultures.