why do we argue over stupid things
My and I used to get into a daily fight over the bathroom counter. He wanted it completely free of clutter. More specifically, he only wanted three things on the counterÁhis hand soap, his toothbrush, and his razor. He wanted everything else in a drawer, cabinet, or closet. Now, IÁm not his opposite, mind you. IÁm the person who usually keeps our house straight and orderly. IÁm the one who compulsively picks up toys and puts them away. IÁm the one who canÁt stand dishes piled up in the sink. IÁm the one who occasionally makes our bed. ItÁs not as if I wanted stuff all over the bathroom counter either. I donÁt even have a lot of bathroom objects to begin with. I wear makeup rarely. I donÁt use a hair dryer. IÁm not into perfume, scented creams, or candles. I only wanted two objects on the counter: my toothbrush and my facial cleanser. THE BATHROOM COUNTER WAR Sounds easy enough, right? Oh, so wrong. Every morning IÁd wake, walk to the bathroom, and groggily look around for my toothbrush and cleanser. IÁd look all over the counter. IÁd close my eyes and open them again. ÁI must be blind,Á IÁd mutter. ÁThey were right there. There. Right there. Á
After much searching, IÁd eventually find them stashed in one drawer or anotherÁwhere my husband had put them. When I confronted him about it, he insisted that my stuff took up too much space. When I pointed out that his stuff got to stay on the counter, he said he needed it. I told him I needed my stuff too. We would go around and around the topic, never getting anywhere. Each morning, IÁd start a search and rescue mission for my soap and toothbrush. One day, exasperated, I complied.
I took everything off the counter Á all toothbrushes, all soaps, his razor, everythingÁand put it in a drawer. I did this every morning. I donÁt think he liked it. He never mentioned it, but IÁm 99 percent sure he didnÁt like it. I know this because one morning I woke and found my toothbrush and cleanser on the counter. They were there the next morning too, and the morning after that. Truce. Only problem? We started fighting about the correct way to fold the laundry instead. MY WAY OR THE HIGHWAY I used to think we were the only couple who fought about stupid stuff. Then I started talking and blogging about our marital issues. I heard from others. Couples fight about what side of the bed to sleep on, the classic toilet seat battle (up vs. down), even the toilet paper roll (over the top vs. underneath). It goes on and on. But why? Jane Straus, a life coach and author of Enough is Enough! , had this to say: ÁThese struggles are rarely about the issues and are almost always about people using issues such as the position of the toilet seat as evidence of whether or not they are loved. Marriages can be ruined by a partner not squeezing the toothpaste in the right spot because of the loved vs. not loved meaning for their partner. Á And in an effort to feel loved, the losing partner may elevate the battle by trying to manipulate the situation with whatever power that can throw around, says John Honeycutt, happily married man, management consultant, and author. For example, he says, a man might: * Withhold affection or give it out only when he gets his way. * Withhold information about finances, unless he gets his way. * Withdraw from family type of events, unless there is something he gets in return. * Not be honest and communicative, until his outcome is certain.
A woman might: * Withhold, or participate only on conditions. * Refrain from affirmation and possibly use put-downs, or give sparse affirmation when sheÁs achieved her way. * Withhold domestic support, or provide it sparingly only as a barter-chip. * Withdraw from any shared interests, or participate only for something in return. * Withhold any admiration, with only a hope of this as a possibility on occasion. Ouch, right? It all sounds really silly until you think about your own relationship and find yourself muttering those all-important four words: Been there, done that. Here are some tips for getting over power struggles about: Sex: Schedule it. That way the person with the higher drive isnÁt always initiating and the person with the lower drive isnÁt always saying no. Stupid stuff: Just let it go. Plain and simple. Everything else: Be clear about what you need and why you need it, in order to avoid mixed signals or miscommunication. Alisa Bowman is the author of Project: Happily Ever After, which tells the real life story of how she went from the brink of divorce to falling back in. It's available for pre-order on amazon. com. Visit her blog at. Arguing isnÁt necessarily a bad thing in friendship. It all depends on what you argue about and how you do it. Healthy arguing about heavy stuff can help you grow closer as friends, but dumb arguments may just show that youÁre so comfortable in your friendship you know you can tease and fight about stupid things without it ending your relationship.
Here are some of the really stupid fights that friends have. Who Has It Worse Having a friend listen to you complain about things in your life can make you feel understood, but what about when a friend tops you by telling you their life is way worse than yours. Do you amp it up a notch and relay some more of your problems? This game of Áwho has it worseÁ never accomplishes anything. Sports Teams IÁm guilty of this one with just about any friend who doesnÁt believe the Green Bay Packers are the best team in the league. Fights about sports teams are never really rational, theyÁre just filled with friends spouting statistics and forgetting about all the things their team lacks. Your Favorite Band There are lots of variations on this one, like who is the cutest in your favorite band, which band rocks harder, which is embarrassing to be caught listening to, and which needs to kick their lead singer out. You might even enjoy the same band and yet still argue about one of these topics. Which Restaurant Is the Best Where do you want to go? IsnÁt that the worst question friends repeat over and over? This argument will be made bigger because youÁll be hungry (or hangry! ) while youÁre fighting. Music in the Car and Who Should Drive Cars are a mini-world of arguments all their own. Who gets to drive? Who gets to choose the radio station while weÁre in the car? Who accidently threw their best friendÁs favorite CD out the window? Car arguments increase exponentially when youÁre stuck on a long-distance trip. Which of Your Crushes Is Better Looking No one wants to think that guy or girl theyÁre digging isnÁt as good looking as someone else.
But while youÁre arguing about the physical qualities of the people youÁre crushing on, someone else is probably enjoying their company. Best to let it go if your friend doesnÁt like your latest crush, and make your move instead. Ask them out. Your friend will just have to deal when you two start dating. Broken Promises, Dishes, and Other Hazards of Friendship Its bad news when a friend breaks a favorite item of yours, like that dish that was once your grandmaÁs or that necklace your ex gave you. Hurt feelings about broken things can last a long time unless someone has the courage to forgive and let it go. YouÁd be surprised at how frequently this type of argument can pop up when youÁre arguing about something else entirely. Whose Fault It is That Something Happened Did you get lost? Fail to get the concert tickets in time? Or how about the bus you missed because your friend stopped to tie their shoe? á Friends love to argue over whose fault it is but itÁs best to let this go as quickly as you can. If you start blaming your friend for things, theyÁll remember a few of your past sins they let once go upon a time. Being Late No one likes waiting for another person, and when one person makes it a habit it can be very annoying. But chances are, you take turns being late. Your friend might be running behind one day but the next youÁll be the one who didnÁt get there on time. YouÁll probably both argue about it and youÁll both be right. Is there an argument you and your friend just can t get over? Check out my four-week ecourse, which has tips week by week on how to move past it.
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