Dispute – Janine Love – I recently watched a young couple during the commute. They argued for most of the journey. She did not care if passengers listened or not. The problematic aspect was the girl was the most aggressive; the young man tried to temper the temper on many occasions. I could see exasperation in his face.

By chance, they left the carriage at my station. Pretending to get something out of my bag, I watched and listened to the final moments. He said “we’re done”. I’m sure he would fulfil his choice.

The girl began to cry and pleaded with him to stay “I cannot continue with this: we’re done” he confirmed, and he walked away. She sat on the bench, and the world walked by. As lonely as a shipwrecked sailor, her tears made the seat an island.

And I walked away without looking back. Intuition told me the girl was to blame; sometimes, we can feel the situation. She had demanded too much once too often. And the boy’s love had died, and I think I know why.

Between two people argument is a personal situation. The better way to resolve differences is in private and with mutual truth and respect. Publicly arguing or expressing one’s frustration or anger with a circumstance throws the possibility of reconciliation to the four winds Because once others are involved the sequence to failure becomes more certain. Inevitably sides will be taken, and the original issue will become secondary to the in-fighting. The probability of finding a rational solution falls to zero.

Some years ago, two inseparable friends became enemies. Nothing new in this ‘old as the hills’ situation. The situation is long passed, and my recollection will hurt none. They had enjoyed sharing Christmas day for some years and that year one had met and fallen in love with a new girl. She worked in the sandwich shop near the exchange. We’ll know him as Chris and his soon to be wife as Lauren and Chris’s friend we’ll christen John.

When John discovered he’d be alone for Christmas, he accepted the situation as inevitable: or so it seemed. One evening I listen to Chris and John arguing about Lauren. John seemed to imply that she was not good enough for his friend. And later, John chooses to offer lurid suggestions about Lauren. 

Fly Solo

I took him to one side and asked him to stop the foolish behaviour. “Don’t say something you’ll regret John. There is more than a friendship involved”. He told me to !off, and the conversation ended.

Some weeks passed: Chris and John no longer talked: Chris was trading well, and John’s small and accumulative errors were adding up to a problem. Thor’s Hammer was held high, and it would not be long before John would see his last Friday on the floor. Sure enough, he left without a party.

I asked Chris if he were sorry to lose a friend. “I could have saved his embarrassment. In the old days, we would work out a few deals and offload risk. Once he fell through the ice regarding Lauren, he’d closed the doors”.

“Closed the doors” the statement of wisdom. You see, the old school businessman used an adage it is “Never close the doors: You never know when the contact is needed or useful in the future”.

I do not desire you to think this is a cynical statement. It is far from that: the old boys were gentlemen, and you should be clear they were never pushed out or could not keep up with the young guns. They are lost to the era because of death or retirement. The old regime could wipe the floor (literally) of the young usurpers! It is just they chose not, too; they knew that long term survival insists on new blood, with stamina and new ideas. 

I was one of the very few female traders in the eighties, and we excelled because some younger traders wanted us to fail. The old establishment said nothing; they enjoyed the sparring. They may have had an opinion, but the ideas stayed in their club lounges.

One’s thoughts are taken back to the girl and boy on the train: He said: “I cannot continue with this: we’re done”. The girl had closed the doors: he did not wish to continue with the situation. There is no suggestion the dispute began on the underground. However, the boy tried to stop the girl arguing in public; her words were pretty vile and hurtful. Intuition suggested she wanted maximum impact; she believed she’d gain allies, even though they were strangers. She closed the doors on any further negotiation.

John’s supposed loss of a friend resulted in similar outbursts. He chooses to air his thoughts with colleagues. What he failed to see was none cared, and he damaged his integrity in the eyes of many people. Nearly forty years later, I realise something more: it is: John’s failure on the floor was due to no one trusting his integrity. And I doubt we noticed that our unconscious thoughts were steering us away from trusting him. 

My thoughts may be a Universe away from many readers. Some may feel intuition has no part to play in the observation of strangers. Others may find the idea of “closing doors” one of cynicism and selfishness. And some will feel I’ve been hard on the girl on the underground. Your thought’s and opinion are your’s alone, and I respect them without question. There is nothing here which is worth arguing about, you read my thoughts and follow your own.

If we listen to people with care, we discover their character. For instance, John was a poor friend to Chris. The boy’s privacy was not respected. Janine Love walked away from a broken-hearted stranger at the underground station…


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