Have you ever found yourself in arguments with friends and loved ones over the same issues?
You always seem to go through cycles of hashing it out for a bit, then mutually agreeing to make nice until the next time that topic comes up. There may be accusations of bitterness, and the words “Get over it!” or “Grow up!” will probably be thrown around—but you both value your friendship/relationship too much to allow a petty argument to break it apart.
Except, that one “petty” argument keeps happening—over and over. You both say it’s no big deal, but it’s important enough that neither of you can quite put it to bed, despite continuing to go through the motions of working things out. You both insist that you’re over it, you’re past this—but you’re not. Your actions speak volumes. You’re both stuck.
In this way, you’re not really making up after each fight. You’re faking up; it’s all a front that you put up to stop the argument now by mutually agreeing to pretend it’s over. As soon as the topic inevitably comes up again, you’ll be right back to where you were—earning head shakes and eye rolls from bystanders.
It’s not all that surprising; society rewards us not for solving problems, but for being pleasant and approachable. Even if we’re not authentic, most people can’t tell the difference and don’t even seem to mind.
They’ll praise us for hugging and chumming around with our worst enemy—not caring what they did to deserve our wrath or even that it continues to happen. They’ll reject us when we seem to be taking too long to put on a happy face (read: a friendly face), accusing us of being bitter and resentful.
Again, resolution is not the name of the game: it’s diplomacy. It’s not even diplomacy but exuding it.
I’ve been thinking about this more than usual as of late, and yes, I’d say I have a lot of unresolved conflicts. The proposed solution is often as I said: getting over it. Accepting that nothing will be resolved. Being okay with that, however, is causing some internalized resentment that I don’t know what to do with since I can’t, or shouldn’t have it out in the open.
Until next time,