In her book Adulting: How to Become a Grown-Up in 468 Easy(ish) Steps, Kelly Williams Brown mentions a strategy her mother used whenever her children got into one of those pointless arguments in which siblings are known to engage. The first child who opted out of the argument by saying, “Drop the Banana” was rewarded.
As adults, no one is going to give us a treat if we decide not to engage in circular discussions that do nothing but raise our blood pressure and eat up our time. Still, the reward is the peace that comes from knowing that we really don’t have to engage and can simply move on.
So I declare that from now on I will drop the banana by
- not responding on Facebook to a comment that is factually ignorant, illogical, or just plain mean. I have enough experience now to know that I won’t change anyone’s mind. I will simply hide that post and, if necessary, unfriend the person. (This does not apply to serious discussions where people actually think about what other people post.)
- refusing to engage when someone complains about a friend, relative, boss or colleague if the complaint is the same one the person has made for the past several months or years. Once again, it’s pretty clear that no one is looking for an actual solution here.
- realizing that just because someone wants to bring up the same issue over and over again, I am under no obligation to respond each and every time.
- stating that my silence does not mean agreement. It simply means that I am no longer participating in the same old gripe sessions.
- refusing to believe that my self-respect has any connection with other people’s bad moods and, therefore, does not require a response.
How will you drop the banana?