Have you ever found yourself invited to an argument? Sometimes people are spoiling for a fight, to release some pent up frustration. It can happen physically too, where someone gets drunk and goes to look for someone to have a punch up with. That’s a bit extreme but I have seen it unfortunately.
Anyway in our day to day lives, we can get invited to arguments without the inviter even knowing they are doing it. Perhaps you’ve done it yourself? We can pick a fight over the toothpaste lid instead of the fact that our partner did something else that seemed so terrible to us that it was too scary to broach directly. The passive aggressive approach leaves everyone confused! And of course the other person will defend the toothpaste thing vigorously!
‘It takes two to tango’ is a common expression. Which implies you have a say in an interaction. If you are water, a punch will leave only ripples. If you don’t take offense to what people say, an argument can’t be had. The other option is to retaliate and escalate. If they keep attacking you anyway, your conscience is clear. It’s all about them, not you.
24 years ago I was out at Circular Quay which is a series of busy ferry terminals near the Sydney Opera House. It was about 11pm and there were hundreds of people about at the all-night restaurants and bars. My boyfriend and I were walking arm in arm and out of nowhere a man came and punched him in the ear! As my stunned boyfriend sat on the ground, the friend of the attacker kept saying ‘it’s alright, it’s alright, he’s just drunk’, as though my partner had had some argument with him and said something wrong! We said ‘No it’s not alright!’ but what could you do? It was the weirdest thing. It just proved to me that fights can be one sided. Less of the ‘two to tango’ thing. My partner was innocent. What he did with the information of being attacked out of nowhere, once his pain had subsided was his business. He decided to go back to his home country and we duly parted. And that’s where he became part of the ‘two’.
Anyway, I like this little reminder to extract yourself from the hidden agenda of someone else’s argument (usually aggression they actually feel for themselves) if you possibly can. Only by stepping away from your own ego can you turn the other cheek and it’s always a worthy endeavour. It’s not about you unless you jump in. Do you have the ‘space’ in your awareness to make an informed decision?