I don’t like conflict. I never have. I probably never will.

Except…I remember my father saying I should be an attorney because I liked to argue. But I don’t remember liking to argue. Perhaps what he was referring to were my adolescent years–the not-liking-anyone-telling-me-what-to-do rubbing up against parental authority. In those years, arguing was merely instinct.

In “Going It Alone,” an essay I recommend in the current issue of Harper’s, Fenton Johnson writes about solitude. Toward the end of the essay, he lists what he misses as a solitary:

I miss even the arguments, because underlying the bickering was always this taken-for-granted certainty: How much I must matter to this person that I rouse him to such anger!

Still, I would rather avoid conflict. In the midst of conflict, my brain freezes. (Not a good trait for a lawyer, but my practice was in trusts and estates.) I will argue, but I don’t like it, and I will do almost anything to avoid it.

I just want everyone to play nice.


 365 true things about me
why this daily practice