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.