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Self Defense/How do I invite constructive conflict?


You see someone huffing and puffing. You ask them what's wrong. They tell you angrily, nothing. You keep pressing it, and they refuse to tell you. If you leave it at that, then a few days later, they'll come back to you and a huge fight is gonna start up. On your site, I read your analogy with the computer and pressing the button and days later it shutting down and you having no idea what did it. I'm asking, how can I bait people out when there's something troubling them, so it can be handled there and not become a large fight later?

I'm completely convinced that arguments are necessary for any kind of a healthy relationship, and should be something you look forward to. Only by solving the latent emotional issues that are bound to erupt, sooner or later, can you 1, actually understand who this person is, and 2, avoid big rifts and problems later on. I'm also definitely convinced that my behavior can invite and encourage this kind of honesty, and that it's something people actually want to happen. People really want you to pay attention to them and to genuinely care about them.

It's a thing in our society that guys aren't supposed to show their feelings, so it comes off weird if I ask a guy about them. What's the best way to ask a guy if I injured his feelings in someway? Is it really as simple as going "Did I hurt your feelings? Has something I did upset you or made you sad?" Or should I just ignore what society expects and do it anyways? I don't want to imply that he's weak or put him on the spot. I want to make sure nobody sweeps things under the rug. It's the same thing with women, really. Everyone puts things aside to not make a scene or keep the peace.

It's the thought that something you said, or something somebody thinks you said could be swirling around in their heads for weeks, just tearing them up. It could even be some stuff that happened to them in the past that's like stepping on an emotional landmine. So really, it's not about what was said anymore when they confront you later on. It's also all the junk they added on to it while this was boiling inside of them, before it exploded.

My thinking is that this will work only if I can convey that:

I don't intend to hurt you or harm you in anyway,

I won't lie to you

I won't judge you, criticize you or try to put you down and make you feel bad,

I won't betray you by spilling your secrets or trying to blackmail you with the information you give me

I accept you as who you are and I'm not trying to change you into somebody you're not

And of course, When I'm with you, I'll give you my complete, undivided attention.

I want to treat people with respect and like they're human beings with feelings. Because they matter. What behaviors can I adopt so that the above becomes part of who I am? I notice that people constantly give you signs as to what they want, but they won't often say it out loud. These signals are what encourages me to pursue this.

I think you can help me again with this, because you're the guy who says that an argument isn't a bad thing, and that conflict is
inevitable. How can I provoke or encourage an argument or discussion that brings to light hidden or unconscious grievances before they become an issue, or encourage these things to be said as soon as they bother anyone who interacts with me?

To clarify this, of course I don't mean to get into any yelling or screaming matches with anyone. I just want to be able to better connect with people.

Simple enough questions. But the magnitude of the answers is ... well, let me just say you're going to spend the rest of your life discovering how big of an answer it is.

Like laying on your death bed being considered by millions a master at people skills, you're last words will be 'So much more to know and understand.'

I tell you this not to discourage you, but to encourage you. People are fascinating. Learning about them is fun, exciting and will get you laid -- a lot.

A lot of your questions revolve around "How do I communicate to that person I'm (fill in the blank)?"

A better question is "How do I become (fill in the blank)?"  You can tell them all you want, it's BEING that that they will trust you and know you are reliable.

A concept I'm working on lately is communicating to people the pitfalls of 'self-certifying.'

I see it in lots and lots of behaviors these days. It's someone going around telling themselves "I'm a/an (fill in the blank)"

I'm a nice person. I'm an intellectual. I'm trust worthy. I'm a bad ass. I'm a yada, yada, yada.

Then -- in the most extreme -- they flip around and do the exact opposite.  More often though they do nothing to qualify. Yet they do both while maintaining the self-delusion that they are still (fill in the blank).

People trust such people about as far as they can throw them uphill.

Once someone has established a reputation of doing this kind of behavior, walking up to someone else and saying 'you can trust me' will get a negative reaction.

Here is a solid, raw and often unpleasant truth. You don't get to make your own reputation. What people say or think about you will be your reputation.

You can, however, strongly influence it. If you're a selfish, self-serving, unreliable, emotional git, your reputation will be bad, no matter how much you want it to be 'good.' Here's a reality blaster:

Here is a book that I highly recommend you read. The original literally changed my life

Put I will add on an example of self-certifying that I just wrote (it references the book too)

I gave you that link so you can search out some other things I've written that can help you.

Like I said, you're questions have way too big of an answer than 'you just do this.' But what I've given you is critical starting point. One that a whole lot of people miss. Because they're missing this crucial element, what they are trying to do doesn't work. Or at best, they only are half-assed about it.

I have a term I use. Mountain Man Rabbit Stew. It's from a 1850's cookbook I have for mountain men. The recipe reads like this "Mountain Man Rabbit Stew. Step one: Catch a rabbit"

If you don't get that first step, then you ain't got what it takes.

Don't self-certify that you've already caught that rabbit. That's why the links are important.

Then, after you've started working on that. Go out and read everything you can about interpersonal relationships, psychology, leadership and people skills.  A lot of the stuff won't apply to you. That's okay. It applies to others -- and knowing that, you'll have a better chance of figuring out how to deal with them

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Marc MacYoung


Street self-defense, crime avoidance and personal safety


I grew up in the streets of Los Angeles in 'situational poverty.' I have dealt with criminals and violent people all my life -- both personally and professionally. I have written 15 books and 6 videos on surviving street violence. I was originally published under the name Marc Animal MacYoung. (Animal was my street name). I've taught police and military both internationally and within the US. I've lectured at universities, academies and done countless TV, radio, newspaper and magazine interviews. I'm a professional speaker on crime avoidance and personal safety. And I am an expert witness recognized by the US court system. My bio is at My abridged CV (Curriculum Vitae) is at

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Too numerous to list here. My CV (for my expert witness work in court) is at

Read "In the Name of Self-Defense" the streets don't give a Ph.D in scuffle.

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