My Wife & I Got Into a Loud, Awkward Public Fight Last Weekend
How do you deal with conflict?
I prefer to deal with it head-on finding a resolution sooner rather than later. My wife, on the other hand, is every bit a Minnesotan and can be very passive-aggressive in how she deals with conflict, sometimes allowing it to draw out much longer than is healthy or necessary. Every situation is different and unique, of course, and neither her method nor mine is always the right one at the right time.
Over the weekend, my wife Katie and I went out on a long-overdue date night. I picked her up from work in downtown Minneapolis with rough dinner and evening plans. With some time to kill, we made our way to a favorite NorthEast Minneapolis brewery -- Dangerous Man Brewing Co. -- for drinks first. Dangerous Man is a small taproom known for making fantastic beer, so it's usually quite packed and crowded. On more than one occasion in the past, we've made our way in to find standing room only, which isn't exactly conducive for casual drinks with friends or your significant other. Fortunately for us, we arrived early enough in the evening that there was still some table space, and we quickly snagged a five chair high top table in the corner.
We were about 15 minutes in, enjoying small talk and our drinks, when a woman approached and asked if she could sit next to us. Knowing Dangerous Man's reputation to reach max capacity, it seemed rude to us to say no, so we made space for her to join us. Shortly after, a man joined her, and they entered into their own discussion as we continued in ours.
Before long, however, we became distracted by the woman's voice, which was growing in volume and intensity. Without meaning to eavesdrop, we couldn't help but pick up bits and pieces of what she appeared to be quite upset and heated about -- some third party who didn't seem to understand, who made her feel like s***, da da da. The man -- whose relationship to her we couldn't quite put a finger on -- colleague, friend, brother? -- meanwhile just listened, sipping his drink, and -- when she paused for a breath -- responding with a short word of encouragement. It was very much a one-way conversation and an uncomfortable one to overhear at that.
Whatever the woman's frustrations, we're sure they were valid ones. Still, the more she ranted the more animated, loud and -- frankly -- obnoxious she became. Katie texted me across the table "She is so freaking loud." I offered to kindly have a word with the woman. "That likely wouldn't go over well," Katie replied. On a whim and very uncharacteristically of us, we decided to have our own heated conversation!
"I think we should get another dog," Katie said out loud.
"WE DO NOT NEED ANOTHER DOG," I replied, raising my voice to match the woman's next to me. "ROSIE IS ALREADY FREAKING DRIVING ME CRAZY!"
"BUT SHE REALLY NEEDS SOMEONE TO KEEP HER COMPANY DURING THE DAY," Katie replied back, raising her voice as well.
"YOU KNOW WE DON'T HAVE ENOUGH SPACE IN THE APARTMENT AS IT IS; THERE'S NO WAY WE CAN HAVE ANOTHER DOG."
We continued to carry on like this, pretending to argue over the dog, over life in an apartment, over Katie's recent show. I was actually quite impressed by my acting skills! Katie, the professional actor between the two of us, was the one who a couple times had to look away to hide a grin or laugh, while I continue berating her across the table. The ploy worked, though, and after a few minutes we noticed that the couple next to us had quieted down; their body language even suggested that they were visibly uncomfortable. Needless to say, we could hardly believe it when the woman suggested the two of them leave!
We watched as the couple walked outside and across the street before turning back to each other, sharing a laugh, slapping each other a victory high five and continuing to enjoy our drinks.
All that to say, we've now added "fighting in public" to our list of public conflict resolution methods!