A Practical Guide to Picking and Choosing Your Battles

Posted on

Some time ago I read a great article (on Cosmopolitan nonetheless) about Picking Your Battles. It’s a practical guide that has helped me a lot. According to the article, whether you should bring up an issue boils down to six or seven questions:

  • Does the issue happen often?
  • Is there a larger issue contributing to this one?
  • Does the offense seem out of the ordinary?
  • Are your expectations too high?
  • Is it abusive? E.g. lying, betrayal, or controlling behavior.
  • Is bringing it up going to be productive?
  • Are you ready to deal with the consequences of bringing it up?

Additionally, there are several hot-button issues, namely, trust, finances, sex, child-rearing, and relatives. If it’s not one of these issues it may not be big enough to tackle.

One thing the article doesn’t mention is actually bringing the issue up. Of course this would take a post of its own to flesh out with any justice, but I thought it would be useful to throw in my two cents anyway. If you do decide to bring it up consider the circumstances:

  • Have you thought it over?
  • Is it late at night or early in the morning?
  • Are you or the other person tired, hungry, or intoxicated?
  • Are you or the other person at work or otherwise distracted?
  • Are you having a great time? Would it be worth interrupting?

If you answer “no” to any of those questions you should probably wait until a more appropriate time to discuss the issue at hand.