Any relationship worth keeping is worth making the effort to keep it healthy. Right?
With that in mind, I have a pretty easy strategy to share. But first, a riddle …
Q: What do adults and teenagers often do when playing a game with a little kid?
A: Let the kid win, of course.
Allowing the kid to win makes the kid feel good. And you feel good because you don’t need to look for ways to make yourself feel superior to anyone, especially a kid.
Use this strategy in your everyday relationships to help (a) keep those relationships healthy, (b) reduce stress, and (c) save you some drama.
Ready to role play? The “Challenger” is my argumentative friend. And I’m me, “LaurieTalks.”
At LaurieTalks: Let’s go grab some lunch at XOX.
Challenger: I can’t believe you want to go back there. That place sucks.
At LaurieTalks: What? It’s one of my favorites.
Challenger: OMG. I’m questioning your stand on restaurants.
At LaurieTalks: [fuming on the inside, but takes a deep breath] O.K. You pick the restaurant today. Dessert’s more important to me anyway. I’ll choose the restaurant next time.
Discussion over. Love wins 1–0.
At LaurieTalks: It’s warm today.
Challenger: Are you kidding? It’s totally freezing.
At LaurieTalks: Well, I’m hot.
Challenger: You’re such a freak … always hot. What’s up with that?
At LaurieTalks: [instead of saying, “Go blow”] I guess I could see how you might feel cold. Want to use my jacket?
Discussion over. Compassion rules 2–0.
At LaurieTalks: It’ll be dark in an hour.
Challenger: No it won’t. We’ve got at least two more hours of daylight.
At LaurieTalks: [looking at how low the sun is] Umm, O.K. Cool.
Discussion over. Kindness triumphs 3–0.
In these example I’m not giving away my power. I’m working on yielding greatness in my relationships and in my sanity.
Try it for yourself. Don’t squander good energy on petty back-and-forths. Yield. Give in. Think: I’d rather be happy than right. Besides, what’s the point in having the last word if you’re miserable afterwards?
Most days you’ll get at least one opportunity to let go of a time-wasting, head-clashing, stress-inducing discussion-slash-argument. And when you’re tempted to win, prove your point, or gain the upper hand, take a deep a breath instead. Exercise some lovin’ restraint and let your BFF, spouse, friend, partner, teacher, parent, or kid have their say. Argue with no one and everyone wins.