I had a fight last night with someone I really like. Of course, I only have fights with people I like. If someone I don't like and I have words I describe it as "So-and-so ran some bullshit on me."
How many fights we've had is a good gauge of where you place in my pantheon of loved ones. For example, my mom and I have at least a fight a week. With various boyfriends, I average a big fight a month. The friends I would place in my "inner circle" have all been subject to some period of silent treatment from me. Most people I know, if they say or do something offensive I just make a note to avoid them.
It's backwards, right? You should be nice to the people you like, and mean to the people you don't. But then again, fights don't usually start by someone being mean. They start by people being unaware, and then a childish attempt at communication ensues, and then people start getting mean. It's the childish attempt at communication that evidences a bond between people. The attempt signifies "I don't want to walk away from you." But the childish attempt usually sounds like "I think you're a jerk." Also backwards, because who bothers to talk to jerks?
I've been aware of how childish my communication becomes when I'm hurt or threatened since college. I've actually read a fair amount about how to communicate like an adult. But it's definitely a practice makes perfect kind of situation. And I need lots of practice. I think I'm being mature and reasonable, and suddenly I'm describing in quick succession everything my loved one has ever done wrong using only the choicest obscenities. Suddenly I'm telling them what they "always" and "never" do, and it's not "you always hold the door for me" and "you never go to the kitchen without asking if I want something."
Ah, human beings rubbing up against one another, not in the sexy way. It all makes me hope there's some kind of evaluation when we're dead. St. Peter shows me a graph and says, "This was your flying-off-the-handle percentage at 20, and look how low you got that by 76. Also, you really improved on remembering people's birthdays. But we were hoping for more progress on the watching 12 hour marathons of tv shows you don't even like; it was disappointing to all of us that you died while watching that 'Rich Girls' dvd."
(Well, that's a little misleading, because I loved "Rich Girls" and every so often will wonder what Ally Hilfiger is up to.)