In my youth every Saint Patty’s day the networks would show the movie The Quiet Man, starring John Wayne and Maureen O’Hara.

It was about an American prize fighter seeking to retire to the land of his ancestors and leave his fighting background behind. In the process he meets and falls in love with a woman and they marry. The union is opposed by the woman’s brother, who happens to be the leading figure in town both in size and prosperity. The brother detests Wayne for taking away his sister/cook/housekeeper, and long story short, they end up fighting in a spectacular, Hollywood country fist fight over her dowery.

The movie does not reveal who won this fight, but it does depict them post-fight, arm in arm, staggering drunk together to Wayne’s cottage, now best buddies. As a kid this always confused me; weren't they worst enemies? Them bloodying each other up led them to like each other? How could this be?

On AOM, “iron sharpens iron” Brett says. I see guys go after each other, this time bloodlessly, with verbal punches. I’d like to know of the guys (and gals) who do a lot of debating here: have you grown to respect and actually like those who oppose you on a regular basis? And on a site where to “agree to disagree” is seen as a cop out, where does that leave you if your opponent does not back down? (actually any conflict experience you've had with another man would be helpful, not just on this site) Would you return to your home, drunk together, arm in arm, best buddies?

Or is that only in the movies?

Tags: Conflict

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Refuses to give up.

No respect is earned quite like that earned by an honored adversary.  I respect a guy that can take the best I can give and remain standing on the ground he covered.  Unapologetically not-backing-down is almost a prerequisite, though.  Difficult to respect a guy that gives up too easily.

 

Actually, it happens in law practice more often than you'd think.

 

JB

Over the years I have come to hold some men in high esteem because we fought even though I might have begrudged them the oxygen they were wasting before then.   Even the ones that I can't really call "friends" are very easy to be civil with. 

Back in my military days I was surprised how easily Soviets and their East Block allies were to get along with when we met even compared to some of out NATO allies.  Mutual respect is a good way to begin a friendship. 

As someone who has made a point of avoiding conflict to stay on good terms with others (often at a cost of self esteem and respect) your common sense answer is welcome. Thank you.

Defeat is quite different from capitulation.  In the example you gave, one man bloodied the nose of the other...he won.  But, then their conflict was ended.

 

And, by standing up for himself, even the loser behaved honorably...in modern parlance, he earned cred'.

 

What's confusing about that?

If you watch the movie, no clear victor is depicted. They are shown as equally matched.

And to me, yes, confusing. And that's why I posted this; to get other men's input.

If you're equally matched and you back down, you've lost your nerve, and aren't worthy to play the game anymore.  We've had this discussion before.  Something about a kid running away from an old man, and the old man taunting him after.  There are ways to avoid conflict, without backing down.

But, you'd have to know why you were doing it, and there needs to be at least a tacit agreement with your opponent.  You may back down from a fight because it's too time consuming, too costly (to yourselves or collaterally), or even because you just don't feel like fighting right then.  The last you need to be careful with though, as it will likely be seen by your opponent as disrespect.

Stalemates are welcome, by those who strive to better themselves.  It means harder work is necessary to overcome that adversity.  This is different than fighting for honor.

In your example, both men are fighting for something worth fighting over.  However the outcome is discovered, the respect is earned when the line is toed.  It's not going to stop them from trying to kill each other, but it's enough that nice words will be said at the funeral.

because you just don't feel like fighting right then.  The last you need to be careful with though, as it will likely be seen by your opponent as disrespect.


Change don't feel to don't want. I now know I've disrespected quite a few fellows in my past that way. Or even worse, come off as a spineless dork.

Fair enough, don't want to.  I suspect, there is a huge difference between when I don't want to have a conflict, and when you don't want to have a conflict.  I applaud your progress.

Yes, I have come to respect many of those with whom I regularly debate topics, despite their inability to recognized that I am right. ;)

 

It is perfectly reasonable to accept that someone who disagrees with you has good reasons for doing so. They are not necessarily wrong, and you are not necessarily wrong - there are many things in life that are not easily reduced to so simple a solution. Even if one of you is, there may be good reasons for them to not agree with you. That doesn't necessarily impact my opinion of them. 

 

Sometimes, agreeing to disagree is not a cop out, but a way to get on with being human, accept that not everything is going to go your way, and still have a beer with somebody without coming to blows. That's part of being in a society - managing the subtleties and contradictions in the world is what makes us human. 

 

I don't know if I'd wander home drunk, best buddies with all of them, but there are more than a few men here (with whom I respectfully disagree on a wide range of topics) that I happily consider friends. I would hope they feel the same about me.

To the degree that I have come to respect some here... it wasn't the debate that did it.  Debate, I think, is largely useless (though addictive).  "Iron sharpens iron" refers to friendship, not the Argument Clinic.  I came to respect them because of things they told me about themselves, or things I saw them doing or saying, that I thought admirable.  And that does keep happening.

I see, debate as a form of getting to know someone. It becomes another shared experience.

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