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Political Debates Between Friends

My dear husband is a history and current events fanatic. He devours news of world events and absolutely LOVES to talk about them. He also loves to debate. He’s actually pretty good at it, enough so that I avoid disagreeing with him at all costs. Not that I don’t sometimes disagree with him, I’ve just learned not to talk about it with him, especially when he’s feeling argumentative. Luckily for him, he has a couple of friends (with completely opposite political viewpoints) who will gladly spend hours discussing (arguing) the fine points of whatever issue du jour he decides to bring up. They get into quite heated debates, and I shrink into my chair, feeling like at any moment they will start throwing things. But it never happens. They usually conclude their little discussion with an agreement to disagree and hug each other and drink each other’s wine. No harm, no foul.

The bad thing about it is that if you’re one of the people at the table, or the bar, or whatever, who doesn’t participate in the arguments, it becomes very uncomfortable. I really hate it when we have new people over, people who don’t know my dear hubby, who think his protestations are really serious. They don’t understand that he just likes to prove a point, or at least feel like he’s proven HIS point. Now that we’re in election time, and the economy is suffering, there are a myriad of things that will capture his attention and give him fodder for discussion.

This weekend we had another couple over to have takeout, drink wine, and play cards. It started out great. This couple are two of our oldest friends, and we laughed all night. Until an innocent comment became a point of debate. I felt it coming, that moment…when the banter became just a little too much. And suddenly, the evening was over. They got up, and left so quickly we almost didn’t believe they were gone. What a disappointing ending to a fun night.

J. felt bad. He didn’t sleep well that night, and decided that he’s going to stop talking politics, because he doesn’t like when it ends up like that, but he can’t seem to stop it while it’s happening. I love that he has such strong feelings, and most of the time we can have very informative and beneficial discussions about issues, but I dread the discussions that conclude with someone’s feelings getting hurt.

I’ve always wondered how Mary Matalin and James Carver do it.

3 Comments

  • LifeBehindTheCoach.com

    Oh my word – you’ve just described my husband! He does EXACTLY the same! There are two of them! People just don’t ‘get’when he has a rant, they take it as a personal afront, but in actual fact he loves a lively debate and thrives on people with different opinions – not to be nasty to them in any way at all – he’ll help anyone if he can but when he gets a rant on not everyone can take it. He has told me to just tell him to shut up if we’re at a dinner party and his ranting is getting out of control – we love friends easily! Those who love him stay for life though and give as good as they get straight back at him! haha including me!

  • Deeny

    Too funny. Sounds like my hubby. my Hubby like to play devil’s advocate. Sometimes he’ll take the other side of the argument (the side he doesn’t actually support) Just to see what the other guy will say. Sometimes I just want to crawl up under the table LOL. Actually he is pretty well behaved most of the time. I like your blog- I can so relate. i also have a teenage daughter. She is 19 now in college. Thanks for a laugh. Sincerely Deeny

  • David S. Shatzman

    I've managed to Talk my way out of some potentially good friendships. I always wondered why other people couldn't get into a debate, without seeing it as a personal argument. Frankly, it's hard to keep quiet when you are a thinker,,,but I have found that everyone thinks, but at different paces and about different things.

    Now, I think being controversial is just another way of eaking out a relationship with our own, lost voice, and maybe obscured soul. The unconscious, like the life of a plant, is going to become visible one way or another, as it cries-out-in-the-wilderness for sustenance enough to come to life.

    Being controversial,(because you're smart and articulate), is a faithful, living example of Jung's notion of projection; Unconsciously, we're expressing our own split-of-content, the stuff we haven't accommodated as our-own-stuff, via the lives of others around us. By highlighting their flaws, inconsistencies, weaknesses, short-comings or “bad thinking”, causing hurt and hard feelings – we find ourselves having sleepless nights. It's during the Sleepless Night that we begin to experience our projections return, and in our remorse over our bad behaviour, we find comfort, love and forgiveness, from within.

    I think all arguments are a sign of a soul trying trying to rebuild itself.

    You'll know when someone has begun to resolve inner dissociation, when you witness them become quieter, particularly when controversies siren voice begins to call.

    I know this, because I've been a big mouth all my life, and it never made anyone happy, including myself. Thank God we live long enough to get over our sense of center-of-the-universe-self-importance. I never want to be that important again. It gets lonely when you scare everyone away.

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