One of the best pieces of relationship advice I’ve ever gotten: when facing or anticipating conflict, ask yourself, “Do I want to be right, or do I want to be happy?”
I’m not entirely sure where I first heard this advice. I associate it with my brother and think it may have come from a seminar he once encouraged me to take (so maybe chalk that one up as the seventh lesson learned from him). But asking myself that question—both in the split second between sensing irritation and potentially snapping in response, as well as in cooler moments contemplating what matters most in the knotty matrix of desire and decision that is a relationship—has spared me and those I love pointless arguments and thus needless heartache.
Don’t get me wrong: I like being right. I am a woman of strong opinions, with an Energizer-bunny brain that never stops thinking, sifting, testing, wondering (even when I wish it would so I could sleep). I’m also a scholar of rhetoric, so I understand objectively what makes for a powerful, ethical argument. I’ve got a good arsenal, and I know how to use it. Sometimes I’m kinda glad I can’t get into an argument with me. Continue reading