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Archive for 2011

Melt Away

My grandmother was one of the most cantankerous people you would ever meet.

She seemed to have a knack for offending and alienating others.

By the time I was in my mid forties, she was approaching 85.

It had been a few years since I had spoken to her, but the news I had received from other relatives was she was definitely not mellowing with age.

I was, however, in my forties with a grandmother who was still living.

So I made a decision.

I decided to try and “melt her.” I made the decision to reach out to see if there might be a relationship there.

She was 85, I reasoned, what could she do to me?

I began by writing her a note. The response was swift. “It’s about time you wrote!” was her reply.

I responded with another note, “ It was so nice hearing from you.” (It wasn’t so nice hearing what she had written but I decided to only focus on the positive.)

One note followed another. Each of her responses had a less caustic tone.

The letters led to phone calls and the phone calls to visits.

On her 90th birthday I paid her a surprise visit.

She was thrilled.

As we were sitting in her apartment, she began to share a story with me.

Her mother, she explained, had died when she was ten years old. “I made the decision at that moment to never get close to another person again because they could leave me.”

And she began to cry.

At that moment I understood why she behaved as she did.

She didn’t want to be distant.

She was afraid to be close.

My grandmother lived for almost five more years and I was able to answer the question, “What could she do to me?”

The answer was, “Enrich my life enormously.”

What about you? Do you have a relationship in need of repair? It could be with a relative, a neighbor, an employee, a boss or a coworker. If so the following thoughts may be helpful:

Know Your Reasons for Making the Attempt

Does the person have an important place in your life?

It could be a child, a parent, a sibling, or a friend.

Is this someone with whom you have to associate?

It might be a business partner, a client, a superior or an employee..

It could be the next- door neighbor you see every morning.

Is the rift a result of an unfortunate incident that has disrupted an otherwise good relationship?

Did someone lose their temper and say something in haste they now regret?

Be Prepared to Invest the Time

My grandmother did not immediately respond to my overtures, but I believed I had committed to a process so I was not discouraged by the initial lack of progress.

Few things in life move in a straight line and reconciliation requires patience.

Keep Your Expectations in Check

Your overtures may not elicit the hoped-for response. The relationship may improve but may not result in the outcome you expected. You and the other person may not feel the closeness that previously existed even after you make your peace. Only you can decide how much of a return you want for the time invested.

Not all relationships lead to reconciliation. The damage in some is so egregious that the best you will be able to do is forgive the person from a distance and avoid contact.

Fortunately many relations can be repaired.

For those who are willing to take the risk and invest the time, the rewards can be well worth the effort.

CTS Consulting, Inc

3126 Berkshire Road

Baltimore, Maryland 21214

phone 410-444-5857

cell 443-286-2488