When Persuasion Fails…..Force Is Not An Option

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She was going to leave me for another guy. Another guy I knew was not good for her. I loved her. I wanted her to stay with me because, in my mind, I’m the best guy hands down. She knew it. I thought she did.

We’ve been together for some years and our love was just about to take off. I’d completed school, yet to get a job so I can fully take care of her. She wanted to be taken care of and it’s a job I thought I could do without fail. Then out of nowhere, this guy came in. He’s already made and can do the job I’m planning to do in future—take care of her.

That night when I found out she was cheating on me with this other guy, a piece of me died. When she started talking, I thought she was going to tell me to forgive her. I thought she was going to cry and be all on her knees pleading to be forgiven. It’s an honor I believed I deserved for being with her all these years before this other guy.

Then she said; “You finally found out. That makes it easier for me to say I’m leaving. It’s over!” Then I told her; “You are going to regret leaving a good guy like me. After spending all my money on you (I didn’t even have money, So I’m wondering what money I was talking about), you are leaving me. I’m going to be richer than him. I’m even handsome than him. You told me you love tall guys. Can’t you see this guy is short and I’m taller?”

That night she parked all her makeup bags and left me. The only thing she left behind was some old panty. She sent me a message later to keep it safe until she’s able to come pick it up. “Don’t give it to your next girlfriend” she warned.

I was miserable. I didn’t know what to do. The only girl in the world I thought loves me had left me cold and dry. I was crying all night. I even sent her a photo of my crying face. She said; “You look like you are dying, don’t worry, I’m not coming back”

This is what I did wrong;

a. I made the whole situation about me—(“I’m going to be richer”)

b. I gave her zero reasons she had to choose me over the other guy (Apart from to say I’m handsome than her new guy)

c. I couldn’t tell her why she’s making a wrong decision by leaving (I only asked why she’s leaving me after spending all my money on her)

d. I didn’t look at the whole thing from her perspectives (It was all about me, the right guy)

e. I made it look like she’s wrong and I’m right. People don’t want to be told they are wrong.

****

Some months ago, we were pulled over by a police patrol team for driving while talking on the phone. I wasn’t the one driving. My junior brother was. When the police officers approached, one said; “You were on phone whiles driving. Do you know that’s an offense?” My brother said; “It’s a call I had to pick but it didn’t last for even 30 seconds”. Typical for Ghanaian police, the next thing to ask was his driver’s license and he told them he left it in the house.

The next thing the police said was; “follow us to the next police station for driving without a valid driver’s license and also talking on phone whiles driving.” We thought that wasn’t right. We felt the police were making a mountain out of a molehill. So we argued. We got angry. We were not going anywhere with them. They were wrong, we were right.

There was something we could have done. Something to make them leave us in peace. Usually, an offense of driving while on the phone gets settled at the spot and the driver gets to go. But these guys in black want us to drive with them to the police station and waste our time and our already finished fuel.

Finally, we had to go with them. They drove ahead of us and we followed. When we got to the junction of our house, we left them and drove straight to the house. They followed us there and it turned into a very heated argument. One of our next door neighbors heard the argument and was drawn to the scene.

He spoke with the police for only five minutes and they left us alone. We had spent almost an hour arguing with them and they wouldn’t listen. But this our neighbor had only 5 minutes with them and these “bad guys” left with their drama. What did he tell them?

He told them; “I’m a man in uniform too. Their parents are my friends. As men in uniform, we get to meet young men like these (pointing to us) who have done everything wrong yet they won’t listen to reason. You guys have done the right thing of pursuing them to this point and you’re 100% right if you lock them up for some hours for them to learn their lessons.

Knowing how good you are at your job, I know when you take them to the station, you’ll advise them on why they shouldn’t drive while talking on the phone and why they should always keep their driver’s license with them. Leave that work to me. The vehicle is for their father. He’ll be equally mad to hear this. I’ll make sure, they don’t get access to any car for over some months.

You don’t have to feel I’m taking your job. No! I just want to make the punishment harder than you could give them.”

What did he say right?

  1. He made them know he’s one of them and he’s on their side (“I’m a man in uniform too”)
  2. He made them know they were right and we were wrong (“you guys have done the right thing for pursuing them..”)
  3. He gave them a compliment every employee craves to hear often (“Knowing how good you are with your job…”)
  4. He assured them of a stiffer punishment for us than what they might even give us. He gave them victory over us (“I’ll make sure they don’t get access to any car for over some months..”)
  5. He calmed their ego and made them feel they’ve won in a bigger way than they could have (I’m not taking your job, I want to make their punishment harder.)

They left us. Peace was restored at last. 

Force isn’t an option. You can’t win the argument when you don’t have the ace. When persuasion fails, you owe it unto yourself to learn to improve on your persuasion techniques. People win over others. They might use force to get their way. But those who are able to persuade people will always have the last laugh.

Slaves have ascended mighty thrones through the power of persuasion. Kings have been reduced to common slaves because they believed in extracting loyalty through force. When persuasion fails, force isn’t an alternative. Wise people know that.

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