I am not against the Holidays, but I am fed up with the way people act this time of the year. For being the season of peace and love to all, many become over-aggressive assholes, so de-escalation has to be present in your first-response strategy.
Some days ago, I went to pick somebody up from a hospital in Nashville. Most of these places have now a valet service and if you have any experience with them, you know they tend to be very forceful about getting business and very protective of what they deem “their lanes” which may or may not include those for dropping out and picking up patients. It seems that I violated such a DMZ when I went to get somebody from the lobby of the hospital, and I was confronted by the head asshole valet who was taking pics of my license plate. In a very confrontational tone of voice, he went off to explain why I had committed a mortal parkin sin. His attitude was as if he wanted me to reply in kind so some of fight ensued. But when I went “I am so sorry, I apologize and I promise I will not make this mistake again” while sounding genuinely contrite (I wasn’t) threw him off track. You could see his brain skipping gears behind his eyes and he just froze for a couple of seconds, unable to respond.
We got in the car, drove away, and I thought of two things: One was that de-escalation worked and a silly situation was avoided. But the other one is that those two seconds the asshole froze could have been enough to initiate defensive measures if the situation warranted it. Doing or saying the unexpected throws people off and that is something we need to keep in mind.
This is not the best of examples, but it gives you the idea.