Never go to bed angry

This is by far the worst relationship advice I've ever received.

The song Mad by Ne-Yo [link to music video] has a nice tune but I'm disturbed by the lyrics. Here's how it goes:
"Can we make up now?
'Cos I can't sleep through the pain
Girl, I don't want to go to bed mad at you
And I don't want you to go to bed mad at me..."

As all of us know, conflicts exist in personal relationships. Some amount of negotiation is needed to resolve conflicts. I know the using the word "negotiation" sounds like a business transaction but negotiation can be a simple statement like, " Honey, can you wash the plates while I change Junior's diapers?" Regardless of whether it's a personal or business relationship, the same rules for negotiation apply:
1. If you're in a hurry to reach a conclusion, you have already compromised your position.
2. If you always find yourself at the losing end, you won't want to maintain that relationship for long. This is about feelings and perception. It is possible that the person who has "lost" the negotiation might feel that he has "won".
3. Resolving issues involve (immediate, past or future) give-and-take and working together to come up with creative solutions and alternatives.

#1 If you're in a hurry
If the argument starts at 10pm, it's highly likely that you'll be tired and you know you have to go to bed soon. You start to look for quick fixes to the problem or even be the one to give in so that you both get to go to bed soon. The person who is more eager to get to bed will be in the compromised position. Consider the example of bargaining with a street vendor: if you are in a hurry to go off you are likely to agree to a higher price while if he's in a hurry to close the shop he would agree to a lower price. Take a leaf out of the Japanese's book - they are extremely patient in negotiations and never in a hurry to settle.

#2 If you always want to win
Some people want to win all the time, even in relationships. I don't know whether it's human nature or it's just me but I won't want to play games like e.g. tennis with someone who always wins. Unless I'm training up for some competition, I would prefer to play with someone who is of roughly the same standard as me so I don't always lose. Of course, an occasional game with an expert would be nice. Even the experts pretend to miss some shots or hit the ball towards the opponent so as not to discourage him and even compliment him on his skill. So although the novice player lost, he can say that he played with an expert, lost but didn't get thrashed. (It's all about perspective. On one hand he lost, but on the other hand he "won" because he didn't get thrashed.)

#3 Coming up with solutions and alternatives
If we're tired, how are we supposed to come up with any creative solutions and alternatives? Our subconscious mind works even when we're asleep! So let our minds work and our bodies rest! The first solution that comes to our mind can be the worst one. When we have more time to think (and calm down), the solutions usually turn out to be better.

Whoever came up with the "Never go to bed angry" advice is either a person taking advantage of rule #1 to pressure his partner into compromising or someone who doesn't need to sleep! I certainly need my sleep so the times when I followed this advice, I always felt that I lost. (Gosh, I gave up my values for sleep! ) I can't think very well when I'm sleepy so there goes my contribution to creative solutions and alternatives!

What would I say to a guy who says he can't sleep through the pain? I'd say, "Deal with it. I'm going to bed."

Just kidding :) I'll refer him to read this post as his bedtime story.


Anonymous said...

very nicely said. i have tried my gf advice earlier of settling everything before sleeping and we end up screaming at each other becoz we were pressured to settle it when we are already tired.

result : screaming till 3 am

Verdict : this advise sucks :)

Yu-Kym said...

Haaaa.... thanks for sharing!

Anonymous said...

Sometimes it's better to let things cool down for a few days. Sure like hell, both will sulk and not be civil to each other during the period but in the end if both preserve the problem can be bought out and discussed in a cool mennaer and solved in the end.

Yu-Kym said...


JAPB said...

Still, I hate going to bed angry.

Yu-Kym said...

JAPB, in that case, you can apologise :P