(Distinctions are subtleties of language that, when gotten, cause a shift in a belief, behavior, value or attitude.)

When we quarrel each tries to appeal to the other with logic, facts, reason, and context. Quarreling is a useful way to learn and grow for each person. A ridged, hidebound, unmoving position can be softened by a well-intentioned quarrel.

Fighting is what animals do. Strength wins. Death occurs. humm……

Can we quarrel without having first agreed upon a common set of definitions, a vocabulary, descriptions of off-limits behavior? Of course not. That seems to be what’s missing when a quarrel turns into a fight.

If I were to quarrel with you I would be trying to win you over to see the wisdom in (at least part of) my position. You would be doing the same toward me. Who knows, by quarreling we might both learn and grow even if we don’t have a full change of perspective.

Coaching Point: Do you know how to quarrel without devolving into fighting, to keep disagreement from degenerating into attack?

Copyright 2019 Steve Straus. All rights reserved.