The last guy I dated spent the entire relationship cooking for me. This is how it happened. We were in conversation and I mentioned that I couldn’t cook isitshwala . He was shocked! How dare his girlfriend not know how to cook? See, he should have listened. I can’t cook isitshwala, honest to God but I can cook. I’m actually a pretty great cook but this boy, that I was somehow expected to fall in love with eventually thought it meant I couldn’t cook period.

And he went to town about it. About how he couldn’t believe his girlfriend couldn’t cook, even offered to teach me . I could have very easily told him that a) shut up sir, I’m a badass cook b) even if I wasn’t, so what? It’s not the end of the world c) how is your problem that a girl can’t cook but not that a 20 something adult human can’t cook.

But I am not wired like that. I don’t like confrontation. Rephrase, I don’t confront when I don’t think confrontation will solve anything. What I have is a revolutionary form of passive aggression. So when this boy let himself believe that I was “inadequate”, I let him. He cooked for me for the entirety of our relationship, he was glad to at first but towards the end, he was tired of it and that was the point.

See, my passive aggression is a force of nature. It’s something I have used my entire life. When I was a kid, whenever my mum upset me, which was nearly everyday, I would tell my dad that I loved him. My mum wouldn’t even be there to hear it but somehow in my little head, I would have won whatever my mum and I would be fighting about.

I remember when my dad really upset me for the first time. I was 17 at the time and I started talking to a boy. Not just any boy. The most politically incorrect, most sexist, most delusional boy you can think of…basically the kind of boy any father would absolutely hate. My dad didn’t know about it but still, in my heart, my little act of rebellion had upset him the way it upset me. I stopped talking to said boy once dad and I were cool again.

My passive aggression has worked for me for years. It avoids a lot of unnecessary conflict, it avoids long, difficult conversations . I could be livid with somebody as still text something as jaded as “must be fun being a dick huh” then that’ll be it. But as I introspect, I realise that it’s not a great way of dealing with stuff but it beats fighting on any day.

I say this because I am terrible at fighting, both physically and verbally. Physically because I would get my ass kicked so fast. Verbally because I don’t fight well. When I start, I say a lot of stuff that I can’t take back. I can’t remember having a healthy relationship with somebody after I fought with them. I always take things too far and there’s never any repairing of that.

But in the spirit of learning myself and trying to be better and trying to do better, I realise that I can’t keep up this way. So I’m learning how to communicate better. I am learning to actually say what I’m upset abut without turning it into a whole thing. To be able to fight amicably if ever such a thing exists. Learning to fight without burning down an entire bridge.

What’s your go to strategy for avoiding fights?