The Burnsville Socrates Cafe Message Board The Burnsville Socrates Cafe Discussion Forum › 1/11/11 questions and discussion

1/11/11 questions and discussion

Jon A.
thisbus
Group Organizer
Saint Paul, MN
p.p1 {margin: 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px; font: 12.0px Helvetica} p.p2 {margin: 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px; font: 12.0px Helvetica; min-height: 14.0px} 1. What, if anything, might love and knowledge have to do with one another?



2. Will lowering corporate taxes create more jobs?



3. Can we rationally choose a belief system?



4. Will the shooting of a congresswoman make politics more civil?



5. "Divided we stand," is it happening now?



6. Is there any justification for public subsidy of professional sports?



7. If football were invented today would it be legal?



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And tonight's winner: What is the dark side of Minnesota Nice? -- asked by Amr.



A: Minnesota Nice is pleasant but sometimes surfaces later in nasty ways, latent aggression/passive aggression. How pervasive is  it? What affect does it have on relationships? Why are people different with their aggressions? Which is easier to deal with, passive aggressive or aggressive aggressive?



Jim: I've been to California and found the people there were very nice. What are your examples of MN nice?



Amr: relationships (romantic, sexual, committed) where an individual seeks power but it's difficult to get. Infidelity seems passive aggressive (not particularly a MN thing)



Dick: here's what I consider a good example of Minnesota Nice: we had a bunch of kids kids at the house one summer and a neighbor down our street (someone we didn't really know well) with a swimming pool offered it to the kids.



Jim: 2 aspects -- I don't think we're nicer here in Minnesota. The passive aggressive part is the interesting part. How does one combat this? Overt niceness surely can be used to control a group or an individual, but when that niceness covers hostility, how can we spot it or counteract it?



Amr: yes, behind the back complaints. It's true this is not really about Minnesota. Our subject is really about what the dark side of passive aggression?



Larry: you're talking about my girlfriend!



Phillip: my last job had a nice guy who actually was undercutting me. I had no problem with it as long as the work got done and done well. Yet in another example in another of my workplaces a guy got fired for the same behavior.



Shannon: I think we can risk being too trusting. Trust, sometimes, should be earned. Lots of niceness can make me wonder what they're up to. I lived for a while on the east coast, in contrast Minnesota Nice is not nice, it's superficial/"get along" behavior. It is genuine but sometimes not the best way.



Jon: once while giving a deposition I observed the two lawyers going at it toe to toe, it gave me the impression that these two guys really didn't like each other. But as I walked out of the conference room and through the law office I saw the same two lawyers making plans to play golf together that weekend! Might that be an example of "legal nice"? When acting as lawyers they behave aggressively but when acting as people their behavior becomes much more varied/subtle.



Amr: I once, after returning to Egypt to visit family, saw some relatives/friends having a really nasty political argument. I asked my mom to stop them and  she said "they do that all the time." I had forgotten. I had been in America too long. Something like that in America doesn't happen among people who like each other.



Larry: Dark side of Minnesota Nice: if you're new here and don't know anyone it takes forever to make new friends.



Amr: how can one tell if it's passive aggression that's happening?



Jim: a guy I once worked with said to me "I'm tired of you blowing smoke" I threatened to attack him (!) if he didn't apologize and change his tone. He talked to his attorney for a minute, apologized, and thereafter was a perfect partner for the work we were doing. I think passive aggression is most often found in middle management



Jon: seems like what you did with that guy was assertive aggression, or even aggressive aggression



Dick: I deal with state politicians often. They're always in agreement with what we want them to do on our behalf but then later never actually do anything to help. That's "passive passive".Middle managers are stuck dealing with those over and those under them, making work impossible for them, so Minnesota Nice (ie polite dishonesty) is a job requirement for them.



Shannon: I'm confused -- what are we saying passive aggression is?



Jon/Jim: passive aggression is intent to do harm (passively) and get away with it by appearing innocent of intended harm.



Shannon: but intent is hard to know.



Amr: it's easier to deal with someone who intends harm. Unintended harm may come from unconscious causes, thereby being harder to resolve.



Phillip: I once worked with a magazine editor who got fired for good reason. Later in my career he was applying for a job where I worked and I was his interviewer. We knew each other, had a typical nice interview, but afterward I did not give him the job. Is this passive aggressive?



John: I think you were saving his face for him by not discussing the past you both knew of which for him was a negative. You were being nice.



Shannon: in terms of romantic relationships, it's productive to elevate the level of intimacy, be less passive aggressive. Women are supposedly the ones who expect their men to know when they're feelings are hurt. But women are responsible for making themselves clear. The flip side of this is for those women not to expect understanding from their men all the time.



Jon: because of my mild autism Piper (my wife) can't drop hints successfully with me. She needs to be as direct as possible as often as possible. For example, when she used to say something like: "wow the garbage sure is full!" This was her hint to me to take out the garbage. Because of my brain, I missed the hint, instead hearing her say the garbage was full -- a fact, not a request. Now, for that same example, if Piper wants me to take out the garbage she will say "Jon, I want you to take the garbage out tonight." To me, this means she wants me to take out the garbage! I get it!



Larry: I think men often try to avoid conflict by being as quiet as they can be. Silence can sure be passive aggressive.



Jon: I think of common courtesy as a kind of auto pilot. We do it to get as much done as possible, to get along as much as possible. But since courtesy is also a kind of dishonesty (we're really NOT saying what we're thinking/feeling) it can also backfire. Greater honesty can be far more useful that manners, sometimes.



Shannon: when harm is unintended, there's still the issue of whether one can make a change, whether the offender is capable of positive change and whether the offended can live with likely further similar offenses in the future.



Amr: one way to detect passive aggression: if you have an agreements with someone and your part is the only one getting done.



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Thanks Amr for your question and all who came by tonight! See ya.



Jon
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