Little Standoffs

Our dog, Cali, loves drinking out of the bathtub faucet. When she is thirsty she will walk into the bathroom and just stand there. If neither of us come to turn the faucet on, she will continue standing there for long amounts of time—no whining, no barking, just standing.

Why is this significant? First, because it is cute, and second because it gives Monica and I a chance to have a little standoff.

A little standoff is when you both know something needs to be done but neither wants to do it and is willing to out wait the other.  In our case, we do this with giving Cali a drink. For those with babies, I know you do this with diapers.

In a little standoff one or both parties acknowledge the problem: “It looks like Cali’s thirsty again,” or “I think the baby just pooped.”

After the acknowledgement may even come a request: “Would you mind taking care of that?”

And the standoff begins…

Of course the only solution to the standoff is for someone to take action, but then that person loses. In an effort to save face the loser tries to take pride in “being the bigger person,” only to have the other person casually dismiss the whole thing (Oh, I didn’t even know we were in a standoff).

I’m sure there are a hundred theories for why we play this game. I’ve found, though, the reason for the game is often less important than the realization it is a game. The key is to know you are engaged in a game so you can decide whether it is a game you want to play. If so, continue on and have fun with it. If not, quit playing it because nothing good will come of it–win by losing.

Why play games if they aren’t fun?

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