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How to Avoid Arguments

 
 
Published on: 22 February 2008
 
   
After a little genuine self-analysis and introspection,
one arrives at a statement that the majority of arguments
can be avoided or its intensity made more sober.
It is difficult to pass judgement when you are in the storm
but you can see its futility and destructive power
when you witness someone locked in verbal combat.SMALL THINGS

It was 5.00 a.m. Two coaches were scheduled to leave for a pilgrim place. The passengers were ready. Both the drivers were present but the leader of the second coach had not arrived. As soon as he arrived the first leader spoke with contempt. Instead of enquiring why he was late, he told the other leader to keep his coach together with his. But the second leader thought there was no point in staying together. And this sparked off a verbal duel. The passengers witnessed the conflict of egos and their frivolous nature. The two lost their credit and their friendship for a trivial matter.
Arguments are mainly due to small differences, misunderstandings and improper knowledge of the situation. The resulting high voltage and prejudice generated are meaningless and irreparable. Is it not a fruitless endeavour in creating a problem out of something worthless and insignificant?
A man went to an ice-cream store. The place was packed with people ordering a variety of sundaes and milkshakes. A single college boy was working hectically behind the counter. He had turned frantic because he couldn't keep up with the long line of impatient customers. When the man eventually reached the counter he asked for two quarts of ice-cream. And the boy lost his cool. "Do you know how hard it is to scoop two quarts?" he yelled. Obviously this was not an answer the man expected. Anyone would have reacted angrily, "Well, what are you here for? This is an ice-cream store!..." But the man held his tongue and knew that the boy was being blatant because of pressure. Instead he asked, "Has it been one of those days?" The boy's anger subsided, "It's been a long day. I was supposed to get off at two o'clock, but..." The boy packed and served the ice cream and returned a friendly smile.
What do you do when someone says something unkind or unfair. Do you speak up, only to wish you hadn't?
Many conflicting situations evoke a headstrong response. You answer back in retaliation. "It is your duty!" "Why are you here in the first place!" "If you can't handle it then just quit!" "You can never do anything right!" And the situation turns from bad to worse. The little issue is soon forgotten and instead the opponents start mudslinging; criticising each other's character.
When People Complain Don't Explain
During such situations the complainer is always angry, at the end of his patience and stubborn to his way of thinking. Whatever little effort you make in explaining, no matter how well intentioned it be, merely fuels the complainer's aggravation because he sees it as excuses. So just accept them for the time being, and later when things cool down, and if you think it wise, you can explain - or else let it be buried and forgotten.
It's natural to take offense if someone is rude or unnecessarily inquisitive. But blurting out how you feel creates a hostile, overbearing environment and makes matters worse. Remember, dealing with difficult people is a part of day-to-day life. And there are peaceful ways you can stand up for yourself instead of triggering a destructive argument.
If the complainer has a legitimate complaint, then agree, apologize and move on to what can be done about it. Sometimes telling someone you're sorry acknowledges his frustration and defuses the complaint. Then, by taking action and focusing on what can be done, rather than what hasn't been done, you remedy the mistake before it gets out of proportion.
Be Humorous
Try handling comments which hurt or come as criticisms with humour. A towering young fellow was walking by and people were pointing at him and making fun of him. As he came nearer, his T-shirt announced, "No I'm not a Basketball Player!" And as he passed, the back of his shirt said "Are You a Jockey?"
All of us have sensitive points that can cause a heated row. If you have a condition that bothers you then neutralise it with humour when anyone singles you out. Laugh it out or divert the subject altogether.
Agree to Disagree
Sometimes conversations or discussions on specific topics create controversies. Politics, sports, religion and social issues evoke an array of different opinions and reactions.
A man went to his father-in-law's home for dinner. A conversation on whether to discipline children or not cropped up. The father-in-law insisted that children should not be pampered but punished when disobedient. The son-in-law disagreed and said, "Times have changed. One should not force anything upon them or tell them to do something. They should be left to decide for themselves."
"But the good habits should be imposed upon them at a young age," the father-in-law emphasised.
"You are too conventional and assertive!" the son-in-law blurted.
The father-in-law was furious, "I don't have to sit here and listen to this at my own dinner table," and he walked away. The son-in-law realised that if he had been alert to the way their conversation was leading, then he could have prevented it from this unfortunate situation. All he needed to say was, "Let's agree to disagree" and steer the conversation to something more sedate and uncontroversial.
In almost every subject, each side has legitimate points, so agreeing to disagree or saying that "we are both right" is a graceful way to exit from a no-win discussion. If it is obvious that you won't change the other person's mind and he won't change yours, then simply don't try. Don't become a victim of your ego and stubbornness and leave yourself in an emotional mess.
No matter what the situation, arguments are a waste of time, energy and prestige. They rob one of peace of mind. So avoid fruitless arguments!
The Holy Great
We find that the holy great teach us volumes through their lives. The way they tackle conflict and volatile situations always stand as eternal beacons of inspiration for humanity.
Once Yogiji Maharaj was travelling by train and some youths entered the carriage. Yogijji Maharaj was absorbed in singing devotional songs. The youths who had begun playing cards found the singing disturbing. They rudely told Yogiji Maharaj to stop singing. In reply Yogiji Maharaj stopped and began singing in his mind. He knew it was fruitless to create a conflict and at the same time did not fail in continuing his devotion. Very often, it is not worth challenging a small thing and creating a big commotion.
On another occasion, what happened during a home visit in Jamnagar, could have disturbed the sanity of any man. The situation during this home visit by Yogiji Maharaj was very congested. With the ritual of arti over, someone was bringing a dish of fruits as an offering and the host accidentally bumped into it. Spontaneously Yogiji Maharaj said, "There's been a shower of prasad!" Suddenly the embarrassing and clumsy atmosphere was transformed into humour and joy. Yogiji Maharaj's words defused a potentially explosive situation.
In the life of Pramukh Swami Maharaj we also find innumerable incidents where he has remained silent and tolerant to a volley of scathing words. He has never entered into futile or senseless arguments with anyone. Once during the Uttarakhand pilgrimage in 1987 Swamishri, with a retinue of 350 sadhus and devotees, had spent the night at Gauri Kund - a place at the foot of the holy pilgrim place of Kedarnath. During that period an Indian tourist from London failed to find any accommodation for the night. After returning to England he wrote a bitter letter describing his discomfort due to the non-availability of lodging and boarding because of Swamishri and his entourage. To this Swamishri replied with an apology and wrote that if the man had informed him, he would have made some arrangements.
The great have never wasted their time in answering back, in arguing or challenging others, but instead remain steadfast in doing their noble deeds without any hostility or partisanship. Avoiding arguments save a lot of unncessary hassle and conflict.

Sadhu Vivekjivandas