two basic techniques for arguing with your girlfriend you need to
master before moving on to a more advanced level. They are:
Technique #1: Getting very upset, yelling in a high-pitched voice
and waving your arms around in helpless frustration.
Technique #2: Reasonable problem-solving.
Each of these
should be deployed at the proper time for best effect. Arguing Technique
#1 should be rapidly deployed when the 'you don't really care enough
about me, now do you?' issues are bubbling heatedly up to the surface.
If she is saying things like 'it just seems like you don't really
care that much', this is your cue to get upset. Slight correction:
this is your cue to get fucking upset!
If you are saying
things like 'you always hide things from me. It's like I can't really
trust you' this is your cue to get upset. Getting upset is important
in these situations and we'll explain why.
If, on the other
hand, you are arguing about towels, what kind of take-out to get,
the remote control, or what movie to see, it is a cue to deploy Basic
Arguing Technique #2. You might want to indulge in some mild upsetness
as warm-up (Oh come on! Devil Girl From Mars is a classic
movie! How can you not want to see that?!), but you should have the
ability to shift rapidly and smoothly into Reasonable Problem-Solving
or you are going to spend the rest of your relationship life swimming
through very deep shark-infested 'You really don't love me at all,
now do you?' waters for no good reason whatsoever, other than
that you are a self-centered jerk.
Let's recap. If
there is a practical issue to be solved, use Technique #2. If there
is an emotional issue to be resolved, use Technique #1.
into the nitty-gritties.
The reason it
is important to master Technique #1 (and it is very important
to master this technique) is that emotional issues can only be resolved
through emotions. Upsetness is your magic gateway to whatever emotion
needs to be conveyed, from aching tenderness to furious rage. Upsetness
simply signals that things are churning around, prepping themselves
to be revealed, thus going to the underlying point of an argument,
which we easily remember from the last page is Information Exchange.
Let's walk through
a sample situation to help us get the hang of it. So your girlfriend
is saying 'Do you even care about me? It's like you don't really care.
You never call. And you're never at home when I call. I never even
get to talk to you.' And so on. Now you might think the right thing
to do, or the sensible thing to do would be to say something like
'I care. I call. Besides, you always call when you know I'm playing
basketball.' This doesn't make any sense! What the hell are
you saying? That you care, but you shouldn't have to? Or that maybe
you don't care but she doesn't either? That you care but she is too
stupid to realize it? What the hell are you saying? You people frequently
get in conversations like this and the truth is, neither you nor the
other person has the slightest fucking clue what the hell either of
you mean. No wonder these issues drag on forever.
Or maybe your
instinct is to offer mild verbal reassurance 'of course I care honey,
I'm here aren't I?' And so on. Whatever your own, argument-avoiding,
rational-seeming, strategy might be. You might feel a little wounded
or bewildered but you try to act nice. This doesn't make any damn
What you should
be doing is getting immediately huffy and over-reacting, like this:
(loud and high-pitched) For Chrissakes! How can you even say
that?! I drove seventy miles to see you tonight. I'm always
doing things to show I care! Always! I call you all the time and you
never even return my calls! You should be saying this in an upset
and somewhat irrational manner and signaling distress by changing
your body position, such as by getting up, emphasizing your point
with exaggerated gestures, pulling away, and in general trying to
act as though you are enormously upset that such an accusation would
ever be leveled at you. If you are just play-acting, you will have
perhaps a hard time being convincing but if there is any underlying
upsetness or nerve-grinding or tense and agonized weariness going
on, let it show. Don't be patient, be fed up.
Here is why. You
may think to yourself that you are establishing an appropriate level
of caring enough by driving seventy miles, taking her on a trip to
New Orleans, paying for dinner, disarranging your entire schedule
to see her and so on. You may be confused and just plain not that
happy that such a discussion is taking place. You may wonder why women
initiate these discussions at all. The reason is that all these
things that you are doing could easily be part of a deception on your
part. Sure you drive 70 miles to see them - so you can woo them
over, steal all their money, throw them in the trunk of a car, and
ditch them in the woods of Wisconsin. Sure, you may have sprung for
a nice getaway to Las Vegas, so you can have as much sex as you want
with them and them dump them mercilessly while telling hugely embarrassing
stories about them to all your mutual friends. Yes, you may see them
every weekend although you live in different towns and the schedule
is killing you, but you may easily be doing that as clever preparation
for breaking their heart. All human beings know, at least on a
subconscious level, that all other human beings are capable of deception.
Even the ones that seem really nice, or where you can't figure an
ulterior motive for it.
And all human
beings know, at least on a subconscious level, that it is much much
more difficult for a deceiver to deceive when he or she is upset.
Upsetness brings the underlying truth out. Attorneys in a trial always
try to upset the goddamn witnesses, precisely so they will blurt out
the truth in an unwary moment of upsetness. You may wonder why women
want to test your love this way. Because they would be just plain
stupid if they didn't. Sure there are argument-avoiding women
who will never do this. These are the type of women who marry bigamists
and profess amazement later. These people are foolish. Avoid them.
If your girlfriend has any fucking sense whatsoever, she will try
to provoke a few arguments like this, particularly at key moments.
People are fools if they think love lasts, if they think because you
were nice yesterday, you love them today and will love them through
all tomorrows. You won't. In fact, you won't even know whether you
do, unless you get fucking upset enough to find out.
your ability to be truthful. A key to doing this is to raise the
pitch of your voice. Raising the pitch of your voice is a universal
distress signal. Giving this signal indicates 2 things to your girlfriend.
One, you are distressed and therefore you must have actual human emotions
as if you really care, and two, that since you are in
distress, you are in need of aid, or comfort, or assistance, or reassurance.
You have cleverly turned the tables on your whiny, yet sensible, girlfriend.
You have rocked her on her heels. She was expecting to hit another
fucking blank wall that in no way whatsoever would give her any reliably
truthful information as to whether you really have a deal or not,
and lo and behold, you have alarmed her with a sudden display of emotion.
You have also started an argument. Thereby indicating a hitherto unsuspected
level of commitment.
Some of you are
really terrible at this. If you cannot raise your voice because it's
been beaten out of you, or you have a sluggish thyroid, for god's
sake, pace around, wave your arms, speak more rapidly, hiss, get insanely
sarcastic, widen your eyes, and in general display distressed agitation.
But in general, your best bet is just to yell in a high-pitched
voice. If you yell in a low-pitched voice, it indicates instead
that you are about to attack in the manner of a lion, that you are
threatening, and far from being caring or committed, you will ferociously
defend your territory of not calling or whatever it is. The truth
will come out. Get upset and the truth will come out. Which
is what it is supposed to do. You may not want it to, but that's what
it's supposed to do.
If you are the
one who needs to initiate an argument about 'you didn't tell me you
were still going to the gym with Joe every day', the same principles
apply. It is the same type of argument, you don't really care about
me, do you? and therefore you need to get high-pitched and agitated.
She will have no fucking idea what you are on about unless you do.
She will not think it's an important issue unless you signal distress.
In fact, she doesn't think it's an important issue. She doesn't think
there's anything the least bit important about going to the gym with
Joe like she always has. Or sure, she lied about going to the mall
with her friends and spending several hundred dollars on shoes, but
why the fuck should you care? She's embarrassed, but that's not your
problem. In fact, what is your problem? She will not know unless
you get distressed. Don't get mean - get distressed. Don't get
logical (you always fucking want to do that, even if your version
of logic would stump the leading scientists at MIT), get distressed.
We'll say it again,
logic will not help you in an argument with your girlfriend.
You have undoubtedly discovered this from personal experience but
you still don't believe it. The attempt to get logical, whether you
intend it this way or not (and usually you do) indicates that you
are trying to win. We already pointed out that you don't
want to win. Winning a 'you don't really care enough about
me, now do you? argument is not to your advantage. If you get all
logical and try to win, all you are succeeding in doing is proving
to your girlfriend that you are an asshole who really
doesn't care enough about her, now do you? She's trying to find out
if you love her enough to make it worth the incredible hassle of associating
with you, and by being logical it is as if you keep shouting 'NO!
I'M TOO LOGICAL TO LOVE ANYONE! I REALLY REALLY DON'T CARE ENOUGH
ABOUT YOU, NOW DO I? BECAUSE I AM TOO STUPID TO STOP BEING LOGICAL
FOR A MINUTE AND FIGURE OUT WHAT THE PROBLEM IS!' I can assure you,
that from her point of view this gets incredibly frustrating. She
won't necessarily leave you right away, because all that loud and
useless logic will often convince her that the problem is that you
must have the emotional IQ of a severely retarded bag of peat moss,
and that probably you really do love her but are way way too dumb
to realize it.
But if you keep
this logic business going for long enough, one of two things will
eventually happen. You'll either be forced to drop it when you realize
with increasing panic that it is only making things worse and that
she is going to dump your ass for no reason whatsoever that you could
possibly comprehend except that she really doesn't care enough about
you now does she. Or she will develop the habit of explaining to a
wide variety of people how abusive you are, and eventually enact a
complicated and injurious revenge. This kind of shit happens to you
people all the time, and you almost never understand why nobody of
the opposite sex ever really loves you. I am explaining it to you
now, so listen up. It is partly because you attempted to respond to
emotional situations, arguments, and vitally important you don't really
care enough about me, now do you questions with logic. QUIT IT! We'll
say it again, because sometimes it takes awhile for this kind of thing
to sink in. Don't get logical, get distressed.
All righty, we
can calm down now. Once you have established distress and started
yelling, the two of you need to keep yelling until one person
or another, maybe both, have revealed a Mortifying Insecurity.
Mortifying Insecurities are what it's all about; neither of you is
self-aware enough to know that your insecurities, far from being mortifying,
are highly rational and embedded by thousands of years of evolution,
rather than by your own pathetic life pock-marked with emotional injuries.
So just keep yelling
until one of you has yelled, entirely against their will, I'm just
afraid you won't like me because I'm not as pretty as Sharon!
Or 'you want to get back with him, don't you? He's good-looking, successful,
he's got everything going for him WHY WOULD YOU WANT TO HANG AROUND
WITH ME?!' or whatever it is. At the point a Mortifying Insecurity
has been revealed, both people should be beside themselves with upsetness
and a huge burst of reassurance can come pouring out. 'God, how could
you talk about Sharon - I love you!' Or 'Dammit Dennis, will you LISTEN
TO ME, I don't want to be with Joe, I want to be with you!' Or whatever
it is. And the reassurance will be trustworthy, because it was revealed
during upsetness, during which it is hard to lie, and then you will
start kissing each other and then you will be tearing each other's
clothes off and so on. It'll be great. If one or both of you is crying,
that's even better.
If you're not
getting to this point, something is wrong. While being upset you
need to keep probing for information. I know it is hard to be upset
and do anything else at the same time, but try to keep the basic premise
in mind. The two of you are searching in the dark, with your voices
raised, and your arms waving, for vital information that will allow
you to determine whether you can stand each other or not. So you need
to keep asking questions, and revealing things you don't want to reveal
(namely, Mortifying Insecurities) in an agitated manner. That means,
easy on the vicious accusations, and full speed ahead on the anguished
questions and truthful yet unpleasant revelations. Sounds delightful,
doesn't it? Of course it doesn't. But at least it's straightforward
and you have a clear-cut choice. Go through this process with someone
worth going through it with (hopefully someone who will give you the
right answer eventually) or pretty much resign yourself to spending
the rest of your life solo. You can avoid this process and pretend
to be in a relationship, but you're not really in one (and maybe some
of you don't really want to be, not ever) until both of you have revealed
the kind of Mortifying Insecurities that can be used as blackmail
later. Nothing binds two people more closely than mutual ability to
blackmail, combined with awe-inspiring and touching restraint from
ever actually doing that. This is what all that trust and vulnerability
shit that professional relationship books babble on about really is.
It is arguing loudly enough that you end up shouting out something
about yourself that you never really wanted to know and then living
it through with someone who doesn't take advantage of it. The end
result being something that makes you feel so good, so high, that
it flat out beats drug addiction (attractive as that is). There is
nothing like accidentally taking a big risk and surviving it to charge
your chemicals with delirious high-inducing energy that makes you
want to...Engage in Make-Up Sex. When it works, it's an almost perfect
When it doesn't,
one thing that may be wrong is that the truth is that one of you indeed
does not really care enough about the other person, now do they? Another
thing that may be wrong, is that neither of you will ever fucking
admit it. You've got the upsetness part down, but damned if you'll
admit you really care enough before the other does. A third thing
that may be wrong is that you are not getting all the way down to
the goddamn Mortifying Insecurity. One or the other of you is holding
out on your Mortifying Insecurities. That's bad.
So let's just recap
the basics of this Upsetness Arguing Technique. If you are having emotional
issues with your girlfriend, whether occasioned by her unhappiness or
yours, and you have not yet gotten upset, you need to do so as soon
as practicable. I know some of you are afraid to start arguments, but
at the very least you can be snappy until one starts and then just get
more upset from there. This may make you feel vulnerable or weird, but
too fucking bad. I can't do anything about human nature and neither
can you. Bite the bullet and get upset.
If upsetness is
occuring but Make-Up Sex is not, troubleshoot in this way. If she
is getting upset and you are not - start getting upset. If you are
getting upset and she is not, try harder to get her upset. Be meaner,
more irrational, louder, more distressed, more insistent, make a big
deal out of withdrawing, stomp around, be unccoperative, and just
generally make it clear that nothing resembling a civil relationship
is going to occur until she gets upset. You can do this, believe me.
You may be afraid of the truth she will reveal when she gets upset,
but if you are pissy enough, eventually you will find out. And you
need to find out.
If you are arguing
in an upset manner over a period of time but nothing seems to be getting
resolved and the Make-Up Sex thing isn't really working out, do this:
Argue more or less continuously until the situation is resolved one
way or another. Finally own up in the heat of the moment 'Well maybe
I'm not really sure about this relationship!' or keep arguing with
her until she finally admits 'Okay, well, I am just having second
thoughts, all right? I'm not so sure we're cut out for each other
after all.' Or whatever. By the way, do not believe these kinds of
hesitations unless they are shouted out in a volley of upsetness.
Otherwise, they are just thoughts, not feelings. Everyone has them.
When they scream them at the top of their lungs as though it's
being dragged out of them by wild boars, then you know you have discovered
the Reluctant Truth.
By the way, if
the Reluctant Truth is being revealed in a manner or moment that is
clearly insane, such as in the heat of an argument about diapers shortly
after the birth of your first child and you are saying well where
is the goddamn diaper pail then! and she is saying MAYBE WE JUST NEED
TO GET A DIVORCE IF YOU CAN'T CHANGE THE BABY'S DIAPERS, then you
need to back off, cool down, and address the underlying Mortifying
Insecurity ('what if I can't take care of the baby, boo hoo hoo) when
you are not quite so stressed out. Reluctant Truths often hide even
deeper Mortifying Insecurities and sometimes that is just part of
And we also need
to acknowledge that both Reluctant Truths and Mortifying Insecurities
can float gently to the surface after a furious storm of Unresolved
Upsetness. So don't despair entirely if the screaming leads nowhere
at first. Half an hour later one of you will be saying, if you really
have a deal, I guess I just didn't really realize how important blah
blah blah was to me (or how important blah blah blah was to you).
It was the upsetness that sparked the realization and that's what
it's there for.
Anyway, if you
are during a negotiation period, expect to confront various Reluctant
Truths and Mortifying Insecurities until the key points have been
Final step - weather
the storm, whatever it is. If it's 'well i'm just not ready for this,'
deal with that. If it's I'm just afraid I really love you and I'll
end up getting hurt, deal with that. Continue relationship or break
it off. Once you have gotten all the way down to the Reluctant Truth
or the Mortifying Insecurities, things will settle down for a while.
Until something happens to activate things again. All you are doing
is getting to the truth of things, for better and worse, and it's
a very simple process, at least conceptually. The screaming part may
get a little wearing, but once you are in it, you are in it, and it's
like being in a rowboat in the ocean. You can take a break when your
arms get tired, but bottom line, you gotta row all the way to the
shore. Whatever the shore may be, you gotta get there. It will
be helpful to remember this when you're in the middle of the process.
Don't start asking yourself existential questions like 'why am i in
a rowboat in the middle of the ocean?' Such questions will not get
you to the goddamn shore. Just row. You can decide later how far you
want to venture out next time.
Okay, enough about
getting upset. Now that you have learned how to get upset, we need
to learn how to avoid getting upset. Because if you are forced
to get upset about every little thing you could possibly get upset
about in a relationship, you will get very very tired and decide it
isn't worth it anymore. This is why you don't like it when the two
of you are arguing all the time. Now that you know how to resolve
underlying emotional issues by dredging up Mortifying Insecurities
and Reluctant Truths, you need to know how to not turn every discussion
of which pizza to order into some sort of 'you don't really care enough
about me, now do you?' debate.
Thus, we need
Basic Arguing Technique #2.
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