20071030_pickles When I'm wrong and I know it, I apologize. (That's part of my handshake document.)

That's easy.

But what if I am not wrong — dag nab it — and you are the one that's wrong here?

Well, then, I'll just pull up a chair and wait for you to apologize to me. Because that, my fine friend, is what's going to have to happen for there to be peace in the kingdom.

But Let's Say You Don't Quite See It That Way.
You think that I am the one who is wrong. Wuh?

And let's say that you aren't a crank. Let's say — just for yucks — that you're a genuine, thoughtful, reasonable person.

And let's say you have some genuine, thoughtful, reasonable evidence that I am indeed wrong. At least a little bit.

So, you are at least a little bit right: I are somewhat wrong.

But I don't see it that way. I am too busy looking at you being wrong.

Because, well…

You started it.
That's a fact. (Except you think I started it. But that's a load of crap and you know it.)

Here's me: "Nanni-nanni-boo-boo."

Here's you: "Wah, wah, wah."

So grow up, you asshole.

This is a pickle.
Actually, it's a stalemate. It's a conflict that's not going away.

Everyone sits around waiting for the other guy to apologize.

But that's not going to happen. Frankly, nothing is going to happen. Everything stops.

Once we've hit nanni-nanni-boo-boo, we'd be more productive eating doughnuts.

Famous Examples
Without complete conflict resolution, all we can do is manage the paradox: limit escalation, minimize the destruction.

  • Hatfields and McCoys — bullets flying in the hills
  • Republicans and Democrats — not much happening on Capitol Hill
  • Israelis and Palestinians — alas

Irreconcilable differences?

Is anyone particularly well served
by the lack of resolution in these conflicts?

So, What Do We Do?
How about meditating on these:

  • The long view.
    Get out of today's weeks. Let's talk about where we all want to be in three years. (We certainly want to be well beyond today's mishigos. We can agree on that!) Let's imagine the distant future when all of us — even the two of us who are now most at odds — sit back and laugh at these, the good ol' days. 
  • Everyone is right.
    I know we already noted that everyone is wrong. But what if we also look at the slightly absurd idea that both you and I are right? (This is the Mind of God argument that might even work in resolving religious disputes.) We don't have to prove that each party is right. We can just state it so we can move on to resolution.
  • Trade sides.
    How about I take your side in the argument and you take mine. We trade wounds. We really try to walk in the other's loafers. Might be fun.
  • Hold hands.
    If all else fails, bodily contact! A friend was married by a Catholic priest who taught a pre-cana session on conflict in marriage. The priest said, "When you argue, hold hands. It makes the argument shorter — and restores perspective." This can get us back to the primary mission.

Let's Meet And Agree To Move On.
We have work to do.

Who wants to work as a team?

Who wants to make peace?

There are enough dragons to slay without in-fighting.