From the time we start driving, blindspots become the check/balance of any move we make while behind the wheel. Most of us probably remember our parents constantly yelling about them when we were learning to drive. Regardless of how long you have been driving, chances are you still check your blindspots before making any move on the road. Why? Because you know that if you don’t, you gamble with the possibility of a serious accident. But, what does driving have to do with playing nice in a band?
We carry blindspots with us throughout our lives. They are little quirks, reactions, and verbiage that are specific to us as individuals. Generally, we aren’t very aware of them and rarely (if ever) check them to make sure that we don’t hurt or offend someone. When described as little quirks, they seem harmless. However, they can be disastrous in certain situations. We might get frustrated with someone else for something they are doing, or they might get frustrated with us for something that we are doing. In either case, when these things aren’t brought out into the open, what started as a ripple can turn into a typhoon of anger, perceived prejudice, and even hatred. This is where communication is vital to resolving these situations (funny, I think we’ve discussed this before).
The tendency when someone brings up a blindspot to you (or you bring one up to someone else) is to get on the defensive. While natural, this must be combatted because conflict resolution will be ineffective when tensions are high. Regardless of which side you are on, maintaining a cool head is key. Proper, non-antagonistic verbiage should be used when bringing up another’s blindspot (i.e. I feel like, It seems like, my perception is). Launching a full-scale assault will not work. Plain and simple. Your goal is not to burn a bridge but to prevent it from being blown to pieces. On the flip side, when someone brings up one of your blindspots, critical listening is important. Give that person your attention and make sure that you try to understand where they are coming from. This can be very hard at times, especially when their argument might be fueled by frustration. In any case, do your absolute best to hear them out.
Once both parties have voiced their opinions, then suggestions should be brought forth to help/prevent future occurrences from getting out of control. Sometimes, merely bringing an issue to a persons attention (or having it brought to your own) is enough to correct it. Other times, further action is required. Being as how every situation is different, I won’t give any examples here but any constructive suggestions are better than nothing. Look for ways to improve the situation and as a general rule of thumb, look inside yourself first.
Please share your thoughts in the comments below!