Monday, December 12, 2011

Alright, Okay, You Win

One thing Japanese don't do is confrontation. That's why you always hear them saying sorry. I am not joking, they even apologize for their thoughts. So having been here for years, naturally I am now also extremely reluctant to confront. Or maybe I am just getting lazy...

When I am not sure, I usually wait for more data to process. And even if I am 99% sure, I still tend to give people the benefit of the doubt. But I am not afraid of confrontation when it has to be done.

If we always avoid confrontation by saying sorry, things will appear ok in the short term, but there will never be any improvement in the relationship. The other day, a friend posted a comment on Facebook:

“Apologizing does not always mean that you’re wrong and the other person is right. It just means that you value your relationship more than your ego.”

Of course it’s a sound piece of advice. But I’ve heard this too many times before, "I am very sorry for hurting you." I used to fall for this at first, until one day I realized it actually implied, “But I am not sorry for what I did.”

You see, they say sorry although they believe they haven’t done anything wrong, and then they do it again until you finally either get used to it or give up the relationship. It’s classic manipulation.

I believe confrontation has nothing to do with proving the points or arguing who's right and who's wrong. Saying sorry seems to be a good idea to avoid an immediate fight while both parties are still hotheaded. But for the long term, it might be a better approach to be honest, open, and find the middle ground together.

Yesterday another friend also posted something on FB which I found inspiring. We talked about how men hunt and women fish, but he thinks it’s not the hunting or fishing which matters. It's all about cooking, in his opinion, because after the hunting and fishing, a couple has to learn how to cook together and that's what binds them. I think he is absolutely right.

And the first cooking lesson any couple has to learn is how to agree to disagree, because you can never find 2 people who think exactly the same way or like exactly the same things. Fights are not necessarily  bad. A good fight makes you feel closer to each other even without the makeup sex!

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