Arguing with someone is not fun, but it’s very important.
Both in personal and professional relationships (think of co-founder relationships) I think that arguments – and the way how we resolve them – are the ultimate test of how compatible we are.
If I was ever in a relationship in which we didn’t have arguments to begin with, I would be seriously worried: Is my partner suppressing any feelings? Is she hiding her annoyances? Are we even making ourselves vulnerable? In a relationship without fights, I’d question these things.
I have come to accept that arguments are a given. They happen in the best relationships. But apart from just accepting they are a given, I actually believe they should happen. Arguments offer us a window into the other person. They allows us (and it allows them) to learn about their limits and see where our personalities cause friction. I rather uncover these friction points than ignore them.
What’s most telling about arguments however is not the limits and boundaries we uncover, it’s more about how we are able to deal with the arguments that come up. I once told my co-founders early on: I am not worried about us fighting, simply because we will, I am more worried about us resolving our arguments. Our compatibility with each other is not a question of how many fights we have, it’s a question of if and how we are able to resolve these issues.
Compatibility between two people is not measured in whether and how often they fight, but in if and how they resolve their fights.
Do we argue respectfully? Do we do our best to understand where the other person is coming from? Do we listen or are we just waiting for an opportunity to throw our opinion into the conversation? There are so many different indicators that signal “healthy arguing” and that’s what I would be more concerned about, not whether and how often we fight.