Five words to end an argument

 

Sunrise to sunset, they’re all around us.

So much so that lately I’ve felt like pretending to be Eliza Doolittle in My Fair Lady, and singing “Words. Words. Words.  I’m so sick of words.”  In particular, the arguing ones.

Being a fan of vintage musicals, it’s not surprising that another line then comes to mind, this one from The Music Man—“You can talk, you can bicker…”

Bicker is a good word.              And too often the bickering is downright thorny.

The outcome of such discussions or disagreements can have significant impact on my life and yours. So I need to clarify.  It’s not the words that I’m frustrated with, that shut me down.  It’s the tone of hostility in which they’re spoken.  A tone that doesn’t have to be.

I recall a conversation I overheard while vacationing last summer.  Two women (no idea if either one was an oldest daughter) at a nearby table were having a conversation about just exactly when a mutual friend had called to announce that she was getting married. Their discussion was becoming more spirited.

“It was a week ago last Friday,” said the one woman.

“No, it wasn’t.  It was on a  Saturday.”

“Huh uh,  It was a Friday.…”

Their back and forth could have gone on pointlessly except that the friend with the Friday opinion said, “Don’t you remember?  When we talked after she called, I said the weekend traffic was going to be horrific because of the music festival.”

Saturday didn’t say anything. Friday continued.

“I’m right.  You’re less right.”

Those five words put a stop to the discussion.  But not to the relationship.  Spoken with a smile, they didn’t have a winner-take-all attitude. Instead, they made the friend with the differing standpoint smile.  (And me, too).  “Saturday” wasn’t exactly wrong, just less right.

It works.  I’ve tried it out.   A couple of times when the situation has been reversed.

You’re right.  I’m less right.

 

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Author: Patricia Schudy

Patricia Schudy is the author of the non-fiction book, “Oldest Daughters: What to know if you are one or have ever been bossed around by one,” published in 2017. She is a former nationally syndicated, youth-advice columnist (Universal Press Syndicate/Andrews McMeel) and a free-lance writer of more than 200 bylined features. Her articles have appeared in regional and national publications including Better Homes and Gardens /Meredith Publications, the Kansas City STAR Magazine and the National Catholic Reporter. She is a member of the Alliance of Independent Authors (ALLi), Colorado Independent Publishers Association (CIPA), and the Northern Colorado Writers Association.

The oldest child in her family-of-origin’s five siblings, she learned through research that most of the studies about first-born children had focused on males. But what about oldest females? That question led to the writing and publication of Oldest Daughters: What to know if you are one or have ever been bossed around by one.

The author is the mother of five adult children, the grandmother of eight, and currently blogs at www.oldestdaughter.com. “Relationships are integral to who I am and what I choose to write about.”

2 thoughts on “Five words to end an argument”

  1. Hey, Pat! Look at you! Blog and everything. Like the pictures. Like the brevity of your offering. Like the fact that the content is from an observation of others’ behavior. Good job! Hope the book is doing well. Is it out? Can’t wait to read it!
    Best, Twyla

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