Why does my world always seem so polarized? I mean, whether it's a relationship gone sour, an organization's leadership butting heads, or friends who just plain dislike each other, lately I always seem to find myself stuck in the middle. While it may be a good thing that so many feel comfortable enough to confide in me, it always puts me on the defensive.
Call me an optimist, but I still think that most people are inherently good people. Yes, Zenith's body-flaunting-boy-crazy mentality annoys the crap out of me, but she's also friendly, caring and fun to hang out with when boys aren't around. Zed may be a dick to the women he dates, but is funny and intellectually stimulating and a supportive friend. If you minimize an individual to having only one personality trait, you ignore all of their redeeming qualities. So I generally choose to see the whole package, which is apparently not the popular approach.
That being said, I recognize the need to vent when something annoys you. This is particularly true with any sort of organization, as those who want to lead are also likely to have strong personalities and bump heads a bit. Yet here I often find myself as the middleman, instead of the injured parties directly interacting, I try to ferry the concerns of the venting one to the one she's speaking about, and try to defend the latter to the former.
Regardless of circumstances, I end up in the middle of a sea of negativity, which starts to impact my mood and thoughts. So what should I do? If I shut down lines of communication that are negative, I lose friends' willingness to share their feelings and frustrations, and mute criticism that could be constructive organizationally. If I don't, my role of cheerleader/telephone will continue to wear on my psyche. All I know is I hate being stuck in the middle.