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Gear Guy

Dealing With an Argumentative Partner

I have a great climbing partner, but whenever we go climbing we just seem to end up arguing and pissed off. I don't want another partner, because the one I have is solid and knows exactly how to feed me rope. What can I do?

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I have a great climbing partner, but whenever we go climbing we just seem to end up arguing and pissed off. I don’t want another partner, because the one I have is solid and knows exactly how to feed me rope. What can I do?

Your scenario exemplifies the old adage, You dance with them that brung you. But, obviously, some adjustments are likely in order.

Disagreement is fine, but you need to kiss some serious butt here, because a belayer who can feed out rope just so is as valuable as a time machine that works. Don’t do anything you’ll regret later, when you’re on the sharp end. Take the High Road. If you have a point of contention, and you believe you are right, stick to it, but be polite. Say things like I hear you, but Or try this old classic: I respect your opinion, but when you argue, stay on course. Don’t dredge up past grudges, and don’t make it personal by calling your butt-face partner names or pointing out that he is a stupid jackass. Pick your fights, too. Figure out the points of disagreement you can live with, and give ground on those. So what if his dog pisses all over your jacket or you pay for all the gas from NYC to Vegas or he throws your Johnny Cash Gospel Collection out the car window? If you make him feel as if he is winning, he’ll be more likely to shut his stinking pie hole and deliver that slack you need. Next!