Can An Argument Make You Happier? Maybe if it makes you laugh . . .

Just imagine how angry I am….

A recent disagreement with the man who shares my house developed into one of the most satisfying arguments I’ve ever experienced and I recommend this process so highly that I’m going to share it with you now. Feel free to adapt it any way that serves your purposes.

I don’t even recall how our tiff began, but suffice it to say he was, of course, wrong no matter what it was he originally said. The thing I’m most certain of was that he irritated me more than usual.

My initial response was to shoot him the “how dare you?” stare but he pretended not to notice.

I carefully considered whether I had enough energy to invest in further engagement. I do hate to lose an argument so I finally said in the most slow and precise way possible so there would be absolutely no misunderstanding: “I want you to just imagine what I’m thinking.” I accompanied this weighty statement with the utmost severe and threatening look I could muster.

He stopped and stared at me from across the room. “Really? Well, YOU just imagine what I’M thinking,” he spit back.

We glared at each other.

Never one to let anyone else have the last word, unless it’s “goodbye” as I’m walking away, I considered my strategy. “Fine, but I’m thinking it back, and doubled,” I finally said triumphantly, using my index and middle fingers to point first to myself and then back at him.

I believe I observed a truly evil glint in his eye as he responded: “Yeah? Well, it’s coming back at you AND triple now.”

This continued for at least two more full exchanges, always accompanied by the same hand gesture.

Fortunately, there was no one else around to observe this unusual argument. And, as I’m writing this, I realize the entire episode sounds as ridiculous, petty and well, just plain silly as it probably looked. In the end, I guess it was because eventually the two of us erupted in laughter.

In fact, I think it was probably our best argument ever. No harsh words were exchanged and no feelings were hurt.

And now, a few days later, I cannot even tell you what our disagreement was about, but I do know each of us walked away thinking we’d won the argument.

Of course, he was wrong (and I was right) about that, too.

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