Today at work I had the opportunity to put my calm mental state to the test during a situation with a birthday party. We had been warned the day prior that the Birth mother of the birthday boy was not invited nor welcome at the party hosted by his dad and step-mom. They had informed us that she had a habit of causing drama and requested only that we didn’t share any info with her in regards to the party. She found the party room anyways as there are only three of them.
Shortly before the kids were to arrive back in the party room I was summoned by the boys uncle to try and talk some sense into this lady as she had invited herself into the room. She was polite enough at first as I asked her to step out so we could talk away from the other guests during this time her friend became irate and tried to start an argument with me about whether or not the mother of the child should be allowed in the room. I recognized this as a trap and ignored the friend while I explained to the mother that the room was reserved for a private event and I had been informed that she was not invited nor welcome. The mother agreed to stay out of the room so she and her raging sidekick remained just outside the door. At this point I had been able to keep calm, polite but firm on the outside meanwhile I must admit that the aggression from the friend took me by surprise( from 0-100 instantly). In hindsight I should have tried to talk to the mother apart from her friend as I am quite sure the friend did nothing but aggravate the whole situation.
About twenty minutes later my party host came to get me again saying that shit was getting wild as they started the cake cutting. The Mom had entered the room and pushed the step-mom away from the cake while taking the knife so that she could do the first cut. she then proceeded to threaten the step-mom and remained in the room. At this point everyone except the mom was more concerned with keeping the peace for the sake of the birthday boy and his party.
Upon entering the room the mother was unwilling to leave nor discuss the situation to which I asked her “are you really sure this is how you want to handle this?” I was more calm now than our first encounter as she was appearing more and more weak and desperate in my eyes. She responded by saying “yeah , you can call the cops” I simply said “ok” and turned to leave. On my way out of the room the boys uncle gave me a nod of approval and told me that she had been making threatening comments. She had threatened to kill the step mom if she touched her son which was simply trying to bully the step-mom. I made my way to the office to give my boss a call before I brought the cops down to our building( I have a history of hating cops and viewing them as nothing more than power hungry bullies). After talking to my boss I went back up to double check with the family that they wanted the police to haul the birthday boys mom away at his party.
The mother had left the room and the situation had calmed down so the family was more than happy to not call the cops. I ran into the mad mom at the front desk where she refused to talk to me even to get my bosses contact info which another staff member got for her. I think she and her friend realized that they weren’t going to get the reactions they were fishing for from me and went looking for someone else to bully.
Throughout this situation my staff and the party guests were getting quite nervous about what might happen if the mad-mom boiled over. I was able to remain calm and because of that I managed to deal with this mother without causing things to escalate more than they were going to on their own. This was simply another instance of someone in pain trying desperately to impose their will on someone else to make themselves feel more powerful (bullying).
The Mad-mom might have success bullying people elsewhere but I will not stand for it nor fall for it, I didn’t have to beat her at her own game because I didn’t play it. The effect of her and her friend where felt by the party and some members of my staff although I believe that my calm demeanor was able to counteract a fair amount of the negatives. On my way up the second time one of my staff said “Don’t worry Papa Coco’s got this” which was actually pretty nice to hear. After everyone left I was able to have a chat with the staff that were directly involved during which I thanked them for staying calm and allowing me to handle things.
At the end of the whole event I believe that my practiced art of keeping calm was crucial to the peaceful solution that we achieved. Remaining calm in the face of a storm allowed me to think clearly and provide a calm and stable foundation for my staff and even for the family. I felt almost impervious to the anger and frustration that was being thrown in my direction although it did get my heart pumping in the beginning.
A couple of days ago I wanted to write about how someone could be the calm eye in the center of a storm but had no example to use, today I got my example.