Us vs. Them

Ben Cunningham

In any relationship, there are moments of conflict which are often followed by periods of cooling off. I have found that in some instances there is an easy way to speed up that cooling off period. This technique isn't meant to be used for big disagreements that need much discussion in order to keep to an agreed upon resolution. This is more for small instances that happen in day-to-day life.

I call this technique, "Us vs. Them".

The technique is simple: try to steer your partner's anger away from you and instead steer them toward something else (or someone else) that has upset them.

For example, today my wife and I had a disagreement over which salad dressing we were going to order for a salad that we were going to share while having lunch out together with our 6 month old daughter. She was quite upset with me over the situation and this continued as we ate. When we finished with lunch and tried to leave our table, we noticed that a lady at a nearby table had strung her laptop power cord across the aisle blocking us from leaving with our stroller. We had to move a table in order to get out, which really annoyed my wife.

It was time to put my technique into play! While my wife was still upset with me over the salad dressing, I mentioned how frustrating it was to have our exit from the restaurant blocked. Bringing this up caused my wife and I to once again merge onto the same side of a conflict with "Us" (my wife and I) vs. "Them" (the lady blocking our restaurant exit).

I occasionally write a political blog called Left But Right. It is more Liberal in nature, but I try to see both sides of an issue. I first came up with this technique while thinking about world conflict and my hopes that the world would come together on something that affects us globally, such as global warming. Since that has not yet happened, we can at least use this technique to save our relationships.

Disclaimer - This was written as a tongue in cheek article from a man's perspective and is not meant to be taken as actual relationship advice.