Sometimes things just go wrong. You think you are doing great, or you have something planned that is supposed to be wonderful, and then it all falls to pieces. And it is even harder to stomach when you become the fall – guy, the one at whom the finger of blame is pointed, even though your intentions were genuinely positive. And you feel baffled……how did things go from this to THAT, in such a short space of time? What was the catalyst, what was said by whom, and who was it whose reaction brought it all tumbling down? Things can go from good to bad in the blink of an eye……so speedy, you don’t have time to nip them in the bud before they develop into full – blown triffids.
We’ve all experienced this, haven’t we, and we’ve all sifted through gritty, confusing aftermaths. It might be a day out, a family get – together, a milestone celebration, a romantic evening in, a holiday, or a group project. We feel confident that a good time will be had, and we look forward to looking back with a satisfied smile, and the sense of a job well done. And then someone pulls their face, or makes a critical comment. Or someone makes it clear that they aren’t happy with something that everyone else is okay with. Or someone wants to take centre stage, and make it all about them. Or someone has neglected to do what they’d agreed to do. And you can bet, when the whole thing implodes, the perpetrator(s) will be swift to defend, and even swifter to pass the blame.
Sometimes it is we ourselves who have turned what promised to be enjoyable, and memorable for the right reasons, into something uncomfortable, and memorable for the wrong reasons. We drank too much and became argumentative. We felt out of our depth. Our expectations were unrealistic. Someone else stole our limelight. Others weren’t aware of the vision we’d had, and so did not play the role we had mentally allocated to them.
Sometimes it is others’ behaviour that ruins what should have been a wonderful time, and if an admission of guilt and an apology are not forthcoming, resentment and frustration will be added to the mix!
But you know, the best thing to do is to chalk it up to experience, and move on. There WILL be wonderful, memorable times, and there WILL be periodic, mammoth fails. It is impossible to second – guess every detail, and sometimes everything will be in sync, and sometimes it just won’t be. Sadly, a drunken argument, a huffy attitude, a lack of appreciation, or an unwillingness to join in, can lead to long – term rifts. I was once awoken, around 2am, by the sound of shouting and breaking glass. I leaned out of my bedroom window to see a woman in an upper flat, 6 doors down, hanging out of her own window, yelling abuse and furiously hurling mugs at a cowed bunch of people rapidly exiting her property. When it all calmed down I was out on the street in my dressing gown, sweeping up broken crockery, before the morning traffic found itself immobilized by pottery – infested tyres. I imagined that woman waking up hours later, with a throbbing head and a horrible realisation taking shape……but maybe not. Maybe it had been a long time coming, and her only regret was that she hadn’t done it years earlier!
Anyway…special occasion damage limitation – here are a few helpful tips!
1) If you were the party pooper, swallow your pride and apologise. Dependent upon the nature and degree of your ‘crime’, it might take some time for the dust to settle. But settle it will….eventually!
2) If you feel that another person ruined an occasion you were really looking forward to, you can tackle them head – on, demanding an explanation and apology, or let it go, choosing a disappointed but philosophical approach, knowing that there will be other good times ahead.
3) Try to avoid having to include those you know for sure are likely to behave unreasonably, wherever possible, or at least be prepared in advance (without becoming too tense, as this will lead YOU to flare up!). If you know that a particular person is likely to make critical comments, have your protective force – field up….and smile!
4) If you know that certain people just don’t gel with one another, don’t be surprised when they don’t!
5) If you have negative feelings about a person, or a group, and you know that you are likely to feel tense or reactive in their company, do your best to make other plans!
6) If you have a lot invested in a specific outcome, where a keenly anticipated occasion is concerned, rein it in a bit, relax your mind and your body, and loosen up your expectations!
7) Remember that people all over the planet are fighting at weddings, throwing glasses of wine into the faces of their beloveds, using social situations to drag up the past and vent their spleens against family members, forgetting that someone has put their heart and soul into the meal they are pushing around their plate, or are unaware and unappreciative of the vision someone else had, for the occasion, and are therefore tramping it into the ground with all the grace of a drunken hippo. In fact, if you fondly envision a special occasion, and then actually manage to pull it off without drama, disappointment or fall – out, you will have achieved something pretty awesome!