Apr 13, 2010

The lesser of 2 evils

Silver Linings:
1. Regrouting parts of the shower tiles. Something satisfying about creating neat, continous lines.
2. Hearing from a close friend after many years and re-discovering that familiar, almost forgotten voice. Nothing like old freinds to make you feel valued.
3. An unasked-for, half-asleep hug from hubby in the wee hours of the night as I tossed and turned in sleeplessness. Talk about feeling valued.

Lessons Learnt:
The lesser of two evils isn't that evil.
In a discussion that was quickly descending into a negative, pointless argument, pausing in silence for a few beats seemed to somewhat alter the outcome. Angry judgements were probably still made internally on all sides and the annoyance that inevitably accompanies a degenerated discussion, similarly harbored. But a period of tongue-biting silence (even a resentful one) seemed to help achieve a faster recovery back to civility. For better or for worse, a squabble was averted.

Well articulated disagreements between calm, receptive people might further the cause of mutual understanding but squabbling is a senseless knee-jerk reaction that can only add to dysfunction. Seldom is any insight gleaned from it while the accusatory, negative tone in the airing of mutual annoyance successfully cancels out any possible cathartic value.

Turning away from an argument (in a personal relationship) has always reeked of escapism and scared me with the potential for deep misunderstanding as motivations and meanings are unclarified by the one person, and misread by the other. It's beginning to dawn on me now that this sort of escapist silence has its virtues too. An unfiltered expressed of irritation possibly has a greater attritional effecton a relationship than the potential deepening of misunderstandings. This lesser of two evils is most likley far less 'evil' than I imagine it to be.


  1. Yes, I definitely think there's something to the idea of cooling off. Especially if the argument is about something truly irrelevant, and the reason for arguing comes primarily down to pride.

    Regarding Silver Lining #3: Isn't that the best!?

  2. Hi Usha: You're right and it's easier to let the small things go too. I've always been fond of the 'pick your battles' motto. I guess my little epiphany was that even on the important issues, the entire point could be at stake once the downward spiral of a squabble commences. Petty bickering is something that seems to sneak up behind you when you're tryign to get a point across and I'd always thought it to be meaningless. Until i realised how destructive it can be, that is. Wolf in sheep's clothing...the more shrill you get while making a point, the harder it will be to make. DO you have any clever tips on how to dance around until you get what you want? :)

    Number 3: it IS the best. You too?