Have you ever entered a spirited debate with someone—ok, an argument—and just left it unsatisfied because you think that person really didn’t understand where you were coming from? That if only they could see the common sense in the words you spoke, they would see the light and come over to the right way of thinking?
Yeah…I think we all have. Here’s the problem: they’re thinking the same thing we are. Chances are we can’t both be right.
This is a particularly treacherous ground to stand on when it comes to relationships. We start a “discussion” on whether the toilet paper should be hung over or under, and the next thing we know it has escalated to a full on fight, where neither person is willing to concede a thing to the other. Ok, hopefully you’ve never let toilet paper preferences get blown THAT out of proportion, but then again, I’ve heard stranger things.
What is it that leads us to want to be right no matter what? Why is it so difficult at times to admit we were wrong about something and then set about making amends? Is it fear of being seen as weak? Somehow inferior? If so, we really need to let go of that notion. The truth of the matter is that it is MUCH more difficult to admit we were wrong than bask in being right. It is harder to eat that slice of humble pie than to stand our ground—even after the point where inside we know we were wrong.
For many of us this can lead to doing stupid things (see the comic below). Like instant messaging your now-ex-boyfriend to try to explain what you really meant. Or sending an e-mail to the girlfriend you had a tiff with in an attempt to get her to see the error of her ways, because you truly just have her best interest at heart. Or sending a text message to that guy you just started seeing to get him to talk to you, even after he’s made it clear he’s not interested.
These are all BAD ideas. Chances are you are going to come across as obsessive, unrelenting or just plain desperate. Additionally, in this day and age of high-tech one million methods of contacting someone, tone is EVERYTHING and is so EASILY misconstrued. A text message cannot convey what you really FEEL. And punctuation (an art form that is slipping by the wayside faster than a cheetah on rollerblades) can literally make or break your message. Take my friend Kat’s favorite example of where commas can kill:
Let’s eat, Grandma!
Let’s eat Grandma!
Cannibalism is your enemy. But I’ve digressed…as usual.
My point here is that if you’ve ended an argument, debate, heated discussion, etc with someone you care about on a negative note, don’t try to immediately bring it back up via an alternate method of communication. Take some time. Figure out what it is you really MEANT to say, write it out if necessary. Then, after you’ve both had some space, have a real, calm, conversation. Preferably in person, because facial expressions and body language can say SO much. But at the very least make it a phone call.
Maybe things will go your way. Maybe they won’t. But you’ll feel a lot better about yourself and the conversation if you do it right!
PS…this post was inspired by the following cartoon I received in my e-mail. If someone can find me this phone, I will pay you hugely!