from an armchair therapist: how many disputes get resolved



You’re on the outs with someone. If you were violent sorts, it could have come to blows.

You argue back and forth until you are blue in the face. A therapist or marriage counselor should have been summoned, perhaps (I wouldn’t actually advise it), but neither one of you has gotten around to it.

You reconnect haphazardly after a day or two of smoldering anger.

You start talking about something or other. You are both into it (because of a substratum of past shared experience and concerns), meaning into whatever topic of conversation happened to come up. It could be something that you started the conversation with: say, “You won’t believe what happened to me the other day.”

The other person is listening with interest. The topic engages you both.

You forget momentarily that you are both supposed to be in a temporary “state of war,” that you have been arguing, on the outs.

You never do get around to addressing the “momentous” issues that were dividing you.

You hang up the phone. You realize that you are feeling better and are experiencing a big sense of relief.

What was so important about the supposed issues? you think. We are back to being friends.

Such a relief.

It’s better to …



— Roger W. Smith

   May 2018

About Roger W. Smith

Roger W. Smith is a writer and independent scholar based in New York City. His experience includes freelance writing and editing, business writing, book reviewing, and the teaching of writing and literature as an adjunct professor. Mr. Smith's interests include personal essays and opinion pieces; American and world literature; culture, especially books and reading; classical music; current issues that involve social, moral, and philosophical views; and experiences of daily living from a ground level perspective. Besides (1), a personal site, he also hosts websites devoted to (2) the author Theodore Dreiser and (3) to the sociologist and social philosopher Pitirim A. Sorokin.
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