Put Your Shoes Away

Differences can create conflict in relationships. The challenge is to distinguish between personality differences—which are unlikely to change—and behaviors, which are amenable to change. Personality differences include: punctuality, being organized, sensitivity, attentiveness, and outgoingness.

It’s generally important to accept and manage personality differences. With problematic behaviors (including verbal behaviors) it’s okay to give respectful feedback, hoping the behaviors will change. The challenge is to distinguish between personality and behavioral differences.

Donna has an issue with Chris leaving his shoes around the house. In particular, she complained about his leaving his shoes by the back door that blocked the door when she returned home with a handful of packages. Chris said he goes outside to work on the lawn or garden, and kicks his shoes off, as to not track mud in the house while carrying items back in the house. He agreed that he needed to come back to the mudroom and put his shoes aside. If this pattern persists, despite a concerted effort, it may be more indicative of a personality issue.