It has been a long time since I first heard the expression my way or the highway. Within the context I first heard it and ever since, I have interpreted it to mean that if someone doesn’t go along with the other’s view (position, want, need, etc.) she or he might as well just leave or go away. Consistent with this interpretation, Wiktionary suggests my way or the highway means “an ultimatum which indicates the listener(s) will either conform to the desires of the speaker or else be excluded”.
This phrase and its meaning as defined here reflect a competitive approach to conflict that does not lend to collaborative or cooperative resolution of conflict. It is also common for bullies, abrasive bosses, abusive people and others to use a power approach inherent in the expression my way or the highway when insisting things go their way. Though sometimes we feel strongly about certain things and assert ourselves in a manner that may be interpreted as such, there is not much hope for reconciling our differences when either of us do so.
This week’s ConflictMastery™ Quest(ions) blog explores my way or the highway as a conflict management response to get what you want or when other people use it for that reason.
What other ConflictMastery™ Quest(ions) may you add here?
Originally posted at www.cinergycoaching.com/blog/