It is easy to stay in a job, a friendship, or a marriage when things are good. But it isn’t always good. What do you do then? Do you stay or do you go?
There are different ways of going other than actually leaving. You can stop participating. You can “go along to get along”. You can write out your rebuttal and then say at the end that no reply is expected, and even if there is a reply it won’t be read. That too is leaving, that too is running away. You are there in body only.
But how do you stay? Staying is hard. It is being willing to listen to the other person. It is being willing to engage in dialogue.
Nobody likes a fight. Nobody likes to disagree. I’ve heard some people say that they are “conflict adverse”. Of course they are. Normal people don’t seek out arguments. But arguments happen all the time. We see things differently. We like to be right. When someone speaks their mind and it differs from your mind, what happens then? That is “where the rubber meets the road”. That is where things get real. So, do you stay, or do you go?
In part, it depends on your investment in the situation. Can you afford to leave? How much time and energy have you put into this relationship? Is this someone you’ll never see again, someone whose opinion doesn’t matter?
It is ok to leave sometimes. It isn’t ok to do it all the time. If you make a habit of leaving when things get hard, when things get real, then you’re making a habit of leaving rather than being present. A life filled with leaving isn’t really a life. You’re just avoiding being alive by running away all the time.
Next time, make a choice to stay. Stay with it when it gets hard. Stay with it, because staying with it is all that stands between you and anonymity. Stay with it because to always leave is to disappear, to dissolve, to cease to be.