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Helping families make the most of personality differences.

Anything you can do...
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TAGS: Listening, Relationships, Communication, Differences, Mothering Styles, Self-Management, Teenagers

Anything You Can Do I Can Do Better

Yvonne Nelson-Reid, B.Ed., M.A.
YVONNE NELSON-REID, B.Ed., M.A., is a mother of 5, writer, teacher, depth psychologist, and career coach. As a certified MBTI and MMTIC professional, she uses typology as a tool for helping others understand differences and communicate more effectively.
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Sharing a story about something in your life that you are really excited about sharing and having someone counter you with a better version of their own story can be incredibly annoying, and for some people even downright rude.

Many people see the world through their own trusted experience, and they connect with others through this personal experience. A friend of mine and her mother-in-law seem to be in constant conflict with one another. When my friend Sally talks about her day or an event that occurred with her mother-in-law, inevitably her mother-in-law has a similar story with a better twist or ending to share.

In this case, it seems that her mother-in-law is just trying to connect, to share how she understands Sally's experience because she has had one, too. Unfortunately, the continued one-upmanship causes Sally to shut down and avoid any conversation at all.



Where do they go from here? Communication is basically at a standstill. Understanding that we all take in information differently and connect with others in ways that feel comfortable to us might be a starting point for appreciating differences. In this case, I expressed to Sally, her mother-in-law might find this to be her way of relating to Sally, and it may not be intended as a personal insult at all.

It's tricky, especially in the situation of in-laws. Ideally, I'd suggest talking it out, but it is hard to know how she might take it. With my own daughter, who tends to relate through shared experiences as well, I find at times that I need to stop her and ask her to just let me finish my story before sharing hers.

I don't belittle her and I do let her know that I'm interested in her story, but would like to be able to finish sharing my experience first. Understanding that this is how she connects helps me to distance myself from the feeling that she is trying to be better than me, as I know this is not her intent.

Of course, there are people in this world who are trying to show off their "superiority," but that's for another story, and another forum. 



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