Keeping the Peace?

Are you a peacekeeper or peacemaker ? No, they are not the same. When growing up I would have called myself a peacekeeper and I still tend to fall into that mode,  but I am learning.

A peacekeeper will keep the peace no matter the cost.They will sacrifice what they really want, just to keep everyone happy for they don’t want to stir the waters. They don’t like conflict and will avoid it whenever they can.

A peacemaker will try to make peace, try to diffuse tense situations, but they do it in a healthy way.  Giving in to keep the peace is not really keeping the peace, it can be more like trying to shove a big elephant under the rug!

You can try to smooth the rug over the elephant, but there will still be lumps there.

Yes, there are situations that aren’t worth stirring up conflict over. Situations which may be very appropriate for you to just give in when you weigh out what it will matter in the long run.

Kind of like being a parent and choosing your battles. Sometimes that might mean that instead of yelling for the 100th time about your child’s messy room, you just close the door and walk away. Your child grows older and I am pleased to say, it does get better! Its music to your ears when you hear them say, “I have got to clean my room tonight” and a stunning sight to the eyes when you see that they did!

Then there are the situations where you need to take a stand for yourself, even if it does stir up conflict. I had to do that at one of the first job’s that I had. I worked at a Dr.s office and for some reason the manager did not like me. I got along fine with the Dr. and the rest of the office staff, but unfortunately not her.  She made it very clear many times that I was on her black list. Everyone could tell and they were just as puzzled as I was.

It grew very frustrating for she never could give me a good reason of why she didn’t like me and there seemed to be nothing I could do to gain her favor. No matter what I did she would yell at me in front of patients and the staff and because I didn’t like conflict I let her do it to me. I thought I was keeping the peace, but I was just hurting myself.  I was enabling her to just continue treating me that way.

I gave myself a severe case of reflux due to the stress. I seriously was like drinking Maalox for  quite awhile. My family Dr. said I was very close to having a stomach ulcer and she suggested that for my health I quit, which I did end up doing.

There are times we won’t be able to make peace and in those times we have to choose what the best thing to do is. I had talked to the Dr.and I tried to talk to the manager different times.  I tried to understand what her problem was, but she refused to talk about it.  She had been the office manager for years and the Doctor pretty much just let her do whatever she wanted to do. She was the boss.

Peace is a wonderful thing, but if we are hurting ourselves in the process of keeping the peace, then we have some serious questions to ask.

I think I shared on here before about the time I was in charge at a Fast Food Restaurant and it was an employee’s turn to squeeze lemons for our lemonade. She decided she wasn’t going to do it, just because she didn’t want to. I told her she either took her turn or she could go home. She threatened that she would punch my face in.  Yes, I was shaking inside, for she was much bigger than me, (not exactly hard to be)

I could have kept the peace by just giving her another job to do, but what kind of message would that have sent to the other employees? Plus the next time it came to be her turn to squeeze lemons she would think she could get away with not doing it again. It would be like trying to smooth the rug over an elephant again. So I held my ground and soon she was squeezing lemons, though not exactly with a smile!  But my face remained untouched, so I was smiling.

I think there are people who naturally can handle conflict better than some others, but we all can learn to stand up for ourselves. We can all learn that sometimes keeping the peace is not the same as being a peacemaker. What are your experiences? How do you handle conflict?




63 thoughts on “Keeping the Peace?

  1. I try and avoid conflict wherever possible however, I will always express an opinion if an opportunity arises. Expressing an opinion is nothing more than sharing an idea that could be contrary to what another person believes, and the goal then is to simply explore the basis for the other person’s belief. Who knows … I may learn something new and soften/change my position on the topic.

    Where the goal is simply to make another person believe what “you” believe, then you are closing doors on a potential education, and opening the doors to a conflict.

    If an aggressive position is taken, and it is clearly an emotional issue, then what that person wants is a conflict. My usual response is to agree with whatever position they are taking (so no conflict), and then suggest some aspects that they may wish to consider. Most of the time it works!

    Liked by 3 people

    • Thanks Colin, you are right, sometimes you can learn something new by expressing your opinion and being able to discuss different opinions in a civil manner.

      I agree too on there being some people that want a conflict. I think that is how my manager was. I don’t know for sure, for unfortunately I could not read her mind, but I think she was really wanting me to yell back at her or do something in retaliation. Some people I think thrive on conflict. But like you, I prefer to avoid it!

      Liked by 2 people

      • Surprisingly, sometimes when a manager/supervisor or co-worker doesn’t like you when you’ve done nothing wrong, it can be because you remind them, unintentionally, of someone in a past relationship – familially or otherwise. They may not even be aware of why they dislike you so much.

        Liked by 2 people

        • That is interesting. It drove me crazy for quite awhile! I am a naturally curious person and just wanted to know why she seemed so angry at me. If you don’t like me.okay. but to clearly seem to have something against me I didn’t get that.

          Liked by 1 person

        • I have been there! In my case I wanted to believe that my manager was mature enough to figure out what the issue was so that it could be put to sleep. It did seem to be an ego based issue which was outside of my realm of knowing how to handle it … so I changed jobs!

          Liked by 1 person

          • Sorry you had a similar experience, sounds like we handled it the same way! For yes, how do you handle someone’s ego! Was your next job more pleasant? I am glad to say mine was. My next job was where I had my absolute favorite boss that I had ever had! Was a boost to my confidence. 😉


          • I had a supervisor that I couldn’t seem to please, no matter what I did. I finally found out – from someone she confided in – that she thought I was a threat to her, that I was after her job. That was the furthest thing from the truth, I just liked to know how my job tied in with others because I felt the more I understood that, the better I could do my job. I never confronted her because I didn’t want to betray her betrayer (make sense?). Fortunately, I got promoted to another position in another division within six months of her arrival.

            Liked by 2 people

    • Now wait a second. Expressing your opinion if an opportunity arises is the sort of thing troublemakers are known for. And I thought I was the troublemaker. Oh whoops, here I am, expressing an opinion.

      Liked by 2 people

  2. Peace maker/keeper may take so much emotion and I can do both. Either way, someone is afflicted negatively to find the common ground. My mind is really not peaceful and I learned to live with it by behaviour modification. As for work job description is vital and manager or owner, I won’t let them get away with poor manners. Peace out.


    • I am puzzled by the thought that “someone is afflicted negatively to find the common ground.” There must be so many occasions when the common ground has simply resulted from expanding knowledge of the topic in discussion. Peacekeeping in a military context is quite different of course, but intervening at a social level as a peace maker and/or peace keeper can, if handled diplomatically, result in nothing more than an expansion of perspectives … which is surely very positive. Just some thoughts.

      Liked by 2 people

  3. I suppose I’m a troublemaker. I was a union steward and handled grievances for my fellow employees. I was always in trouble with my bosses, and sometimes in trouble with those I represented, when I couldn’t get the results they wanted.

    The hair and fists often flew, metaphorically, when I’d step into my boss’s office with a folder full of paperwork. But over time I found that by trying to understand where my boss was coming from, we could resolve issues amicably, or at least agree to disagree. Not always but at least sometimes.

    As for your work situation, I’ve noticed that the staff of some doctors’ offices can be very difficult to deal with. I resolved this once, as a patient, by bringing the staff donuts. Just the same, this has been a big source of frustration for me, from time to time, as I think some doctors try to avoid conflict by allowing their staff to practically get away with murder.

    Liked by 3 people

  4. Oh I wouldn’t have envied your job at all! But good for you in trying to understand where your boss was coming from. If only everyone could learn how showing understanding to each other can go a long way!

    Donuts for the staff! We sure liked those type of patients!
    And yes sadly that is how it is at some Dr offices, the Dr.s just don’t want to be bothered.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. We used to describe it as anything for a quiet life and not to rock the boat.
    I hate conflict, and my sister knew this, deliberately goading me in front of her friends to make her look good by getting me into an argument. Eventually, I stopped playing ball and said nothing, which left her looking gobby and foolish.
    We get on very well now….. she has her life and I have mine, and never the twain shall meet.


  6. My goal is inner peace ~ so if keeping my mouth “shut” is causing too much inner turmoil, I speak up. In contrast, when I can “brush off” a potential conflict, I do that by intoning:

    “Not my monkey. Not my circus.”

    Liked by 2 people

  7. I love that idea about trying to shove an elephant under a rug! Would certainly be an amazing feat if I could manage to do it! 😃
    Good for you re the lemons incident.
    I suppose I take both positions in life depending on the circumstances but incline more towards peace-keeping. Great post. Thanks for sharing.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Yeah, I know … I’m late to this post, but I’m trying to catch up on as many blogs as I can.

    I was intrigued by the difference between peacekeeper and peacemaker. I admit I will avoid conflict at any cost. I hate it, it makes my stomach churn.

    … but every once in a while I take a hard stand.

    Liked by 1 person

    • No problem about being late! I am just pleased that you tool the time to stop and comment. 🙂 You are welcome anytime, no curfews here!

      I really do understand what you mean about your stomach churning at conflict. So yes I avoid it too as much as I can. I just have learned over the years to not avoid it if its going to create even more stress for me in the long run. Its not worth hurting my health.

      Like you said, sometimes you just need to take a stand. And then afterwards treat yourself to something super relaxing! 🙂


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