Key #8. Don’t run away.

In the American television comedy called Seinfeld, Jerry Seinfeld’s neighbour, Kramer, doesn’t knock on Jerry’s door. He flings the door open and enters. Jerry doesn’t seem to notice.

It’s a common ruse in American situation comedies. Comedy writers want the story to unfold at a snappy pace. For a character to hear a doorbell and then answer the door would slow the action.

We accept that on a television show, but wouldn’t adopt that behaviour in our own lives – we expect courtesy. Besides, our front doors are locked.

Writers have created other shortcuts too: an effective way to end an argument is for one character to leave by slamming the door behind them. Or, the character is on the phone, and abruptly hangs up on the other person. Quick and dramatic ways to end to a scene.

Unfortunately, some viewers have adopted those techniques. Some people hurl their point of view at someone and then immediately leave, slamming the door behind them. Or, they hang up on them.

Why? Do they think their dramatic flair will prove them right? Do they think they have won the argument because the other person cannot reply?

It’s a technique which deserves to remain in television. In real life we deserve better.

Running away is not a sign that we have won the argument. How could it be? It’s childish. The key: don’t leave an argument in a flourish unless you’re in danger. Talk it through.

And when you leave, do it respectfully.

That’s being assertive.

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