I recently was asked this question: “Which is more important, to be right or to be happy?” I thought about this question because of this situation: A friend of mine from the gym was talking to me about his relationship with his girlfriend. See, they keep getting into these fights, and he
just doesn’t understand why they keep getting into them. A small misunderstanding can turn into the biggest fight for them!
So he was telling me about some of the things they have fought over, and you know what? I agree with him! I wouldn’t understand how it happened, either. Except for one thing. I know this guy. I know that he LOVES to be right. And sometimes, if he disagrees with you, he won’t
stop trying to make you admit you’re wrong (whether you really are or not) and give in to him. So I can definitely see how there might be communication problems with his girlfriend and why they would fight so much.
So he asks me, “Which is more important – to be right or to be happy?” Hmmm…. I had to think about that one for all of about 2 seconds! I know a couple who dealt with this same problem, only BOTH of them have bipolar disorder, so it was even harder for them. So they had to come up with something to “fix” their communication because they were fighting all the time, many times because neither of them would give in. Each of them firmly believed that they were right.
So what do you do in that situation? This is what they did: AGREE TO DISAGREE They both decided it was better to be happy than to be right. She even teases him and says things like, “Ok,
you can be right this time!” LOL Agreeing to disagree is all about compromise. If you still feel you have to be right, and/or you won’t stop until the other person “gives in,” like my friend, then you are not going to have good communication. And neither of you is going to be very happy.
Whereas, if you agree to disagree, you can each maintain your feeling that you are right, but you
compromise anyway. This is really important in any relationship, not just one in which one of the people has bipolar disorder.
How would you answer this question if I asked you, “Which is more important – to be right or to be happy?” I think when it’s written out in black and white like that, the answer is obvious. But an unwillingness to compromise, or AGREE TO DISAGREE, is the reason that many people in
bipolar relationships fight so often.
If you agree to disagree, you are showing respect to the other person, and basically telling them that you acknowledge that they have a right to believe what they believe and/or feel what they feel. Which is more important to you? AGREE TO DISAGREE can be such an important
part to good communication. But you have to agree with the philosophy. Then you have to practice it.
Well, I have to go!