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How to Fight

10 Feb

By Michael Crichton

Originally Published December 1991 

Playboy asked for an essay on how to argue in a relationship, how to fight fair.

 
Here’s what I don’t understand. If you were going to spend your life in physical battles — bar fights, or boxing matches, or whatever — you would almost certainly get some instruction. You might hire a coach, do a little training. At the very least you would learn the fundamentals: how to punch, and so on. Such instruction would make sense to you. 
But the same people who feel the need for instruction in boxing will instantly join in a verbal domestic argument without a moment’s thought about what they are doing, let alone any real training.
 
Yet verbal fighting, like physical fighting, is a skill. Domestic fighting can be learned. One can become very good at it — although almost nobody is, because almost nobody thinks it’s necessary to learn this skill. Many men don’t bother because they erroneously believe that women are more verbally skilled and emotionally nimble than they are. But whatever the reason, most men just jump into a domestic fight, adopting the fighting style of their fathers, or various people they’ve seen on television. 
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