Monday, May 6, 2013

Lessons from Reality TV: No Fighting!

From The Real Housewives of Atlanta to Honey Boo-Boo, reality TV is here to stay. What can we learn from some of television's most guilty pleasures.

I am a television junkie; but when it comes to reality TV, I mainly stick to music competitions (The Voice American Idol) and anything with celebrity chef and rage-aholic Gordon Ramsey (Hell's Kitchen, Kitchen Nightmares, Hotel Hell, ...). Yet for a lot of people the lurk of personal train wrecks is positively addicting. So this May, the Monday series is devoted to mining what good and positive lessons we can find out of hours of bad behavior.

Lesson #1: No fighting. Keep your hands to yourself!
I'm 44 years old. I haven't been in a fight since elementary school. Yet, grown women on reality shows routinely resort to violence or otherwise childish behavior to solve problems. They slap, punch, spit, and turn over tables. They yell, scream, get in each other's faces and use language that would make your grandma blush (if not just pass out altogether). Ladies, and I'm using the term very loosely, is this any way for adults to act? Shockingly, most of these women are mothers to boot.

These kind of antics might make for good TV but they wouldn't fly in the real world where that behavior is  called assault. Police get called, doctors and paramedics are often involved and in most cases the offender is charged and faces jail time or probation. Definitely not worth it.

Adults should be communicating and solving problems with words and constructive actions. Got a problem? Try on of these techniques in the real world.

  • Talk to the person directly. Talk. Don't shout or yell, try not to cry, don't make threats or invade someone's personal space to make your point. Talk.
  • Work towards a compromise that both parties can live with. Compromise means that both people are willing to meet the other half way. The parties make concessions for the sake of keeping the peace. 
  • If you are wrong, admit it. Apologize and mean it.

Granted, watching a show where people act like real adults wouldn't be nearly as fun as the latest row between Phaedra and Kenya on The Real Housewives of Atlanta. But that kind of drama is best left on the small screen.

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