Applied Table Theory – Chemistry, Part I – Pick Your Battles and Know When to Shut Up

Before I begin talking about this, read my article on mutual independence and also having life goals. I’ll assume that you’re an independent guy who has interesting things going on in his life that don’t involve vaginas.

Begin transmission.

“Vichet! Vicheeeet!”

What up wit’ it?

“My girlfriend is totally wrong about something and won’t admit it!”

Oh boy. I see where this is going.

Alright. I’ll bite. What is it that you’re so right about that she’s so wrong about?

“She’s Christian, right, and totally doesn’t believe in evolution! Or anal sex! I tried to explain it to her, but then we got into an argument, and now I’m in the dog house. How do I make her see that I’m right?


Good question.

Irrelevant, but good question.

Now, I’ll tell you that I’m inclined to agree with you in this particular point. Evolution makes the most sense. 6000 year old planet with one guy made of clay and a woman made of his rib producing the entire human race seems like a bit of a stretch.

But as I already said, that’s irrelevant.

Let me ask you another question instead: What do you gain by having and winning an argument, in this particular instance?

“Come on, Vichet! You told me in your article about Mutual Independence that a real man doesn’t let a woman walk all over him!”

Yes, I did. How does her having a particular belief mean that she’s “walking all over you?”

“I dunno. If I’m right and she’s wrong, she has to know, right?”

Yes and no. She only needs to know where you stand about important things. Things like “I’m not going to give up my friends because you don’t like some of the things they say,” or “I’m not going to rearrange my life goals around you without a big reason,” or “I’m not going to be your personal assistant just because we’re dating.” That’s the kind of thing where you stand your ground. You know, important sh*t. Not things that have little to zero payoff or benefit to the relationship, or worse create flaws in the relationship.

I know how you’re feeling. You work hard on yourself. You’re independent. You’re kicking ass and taking names. You won’t take disrespect – especially not from some girl who you were perfectly happy without.

But lemme ask you this: Does she treat you nice? Is she patient? Caring? Independent? Fun, interesting, and overall attractive to you, and not crazy?

“Well, yeah, she’s all of those things. She doesn’t bust my chops either.”

Brotha, you’ve got a good woman. And you got her because you were a cool guy who doesn’t sweat the small stuff. And now you’re risking it by letting that cool guy turn into a whiny, argumentative douche.

What I’m telling you is that in some cases, especially if you have a good woman, this is not considered disrespect. It’s a difference of opinion, and is only as important as you make it.

See, there’s a gray area between “being a doormat,” and being a “selfish, egotistical prick who always needs to be right.” Every successful relationship I’ve ever seen happens in that gray area. I’m not saying you’re the latter, but you took my good advice from before and took it up to 11.

“But Vichet! She’s wrong!”

What, and you’re the enlightenment police? If you have that much of a problem with her “being wrong” about this kind of thing, dump her. Why are you asking me about this if really you’re just picking fights?

And that’s what this is really about.

It’s not about a difference in politics, or religion, or left-brained and right-brained people. It’s not really about whether the Notebook is a better movie than Predator (spoiler: it’s not better than Predator because it has exactly zero spine-ripping aliens).

It’s about immature people who never learned that it’s okay to not have everything be exactly the way you want it to be. I mean, come on. The human condition is calling, and it’s telling you to wake up. Not everyone will agree with you on everything and to expect them to is the pinnacle of self-entitled douchiness and immaturity.

Furthermore, if you’re dating a woman who does the same thing – always having to be right – you’d be tired of her bullshit in a week, and dump her triflin’ ass.

Chemistry-wise, here’s what both of you need to bring to the table to put a lid on these arguments:

  • Both of you must have important non-relationship things going on in your life.
  • Both of you must be forgiving.
  • Both of you must be patient.
  • Both of you must understand that it’s not all about you getting what you want all the time.
  • You are attracted to each other because you are both tackling important things in your life.

If either of you don’t have those qualities, you’re all aboard the fail-train for a really annoying ride, and the problem is you, not your difference of opinion.

If you need more examples, here are times when Vichet, personally, decides to shut the f*ck up about little things because they’re not important as long as the woman is handling her important shit and is overall attractive:

  • Any time a girl I’m dating disagrees with me about politics (to a point).
  • Any time a girl I’m dating talks about her little daily annoyances (to a point).
  • Any time a girl I’m dating tries to give me fitness advice.
  • Any time a girl I’m dating is extremely religious.
  • Any time a girl I’m dating has very particular tastes in food and drink.
  • Any time a girl I’m dating is a smoker (to a point).

Some of you will disagree with particular things in this list – that’s fine, but it’s not the point. The point is, you need to know what YOUR limits are, and what is REALLY important to you, and shut the hell up about the small things.

Ask yourself, “do I really need to be right about _______, or is it my pride that needs to be right? Can we agree to disagree?”

A lot of times, yes.

But I’ll admit that sometimes, you legitimately can’t agree to disagree.

To illustrate the point, here are differences of opinion where Vichet cannot agree to disagree:

  • Any time a girl I’m dating is racist against any group.
  • Any time a girl I’m dating is steeped in petty drama.
  • Any time a girl I’m dating picks fights.
  • Any time a girl I’m dating is absent-minded to the point of being a threat to my stability.
  • Etc etc etc.

But if those arguments ever came up (among others), I would just straight-up leave. No “trying to be right,” because if it’s at such a point where I feel like the girl is my adversary, why the hell am I with her?

Just be careful though – look at it with as objective an eye as you can muster. You might even ask one of your trusted guy friends about the point of contention if it really bothers you. Because if you have a strong, patient, forgiving woman who would rescue you from a burning building, help you out when you’re down, and expect and help you to live up to your potential, and is very attractive to you, I have to wonder if you REALLY need to be right about whatever little argument you had?

Don’t get me wrong – know your limits and stick to them. If one of your limits is, say, politics, and your disagreement makes her so much less attractive to you that you want to leave, then leave. You’re either attracted to her or not. It can’t be fixed through an argument. 999 times out of 1000, you won’t change a person’s politics. You will, however, make that person resent you for trying.

So the real question is – do you need to have that argument about how you think art is pointless, or about how you think the economy should work? Do you?

If you have a good woman, be careful what fights you pick, because you might win the argument at the cost of the woman.

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