While talking to my friend yesterday and today about some rougher things going on we got on a wrong trail.

We started talking about specific problems — symptoms, not causes.

Later on as the conversation ground on we decided to stop. The trail was getting slippery and leading to someplace neither of us wanted to go.

We ended things there on a sour note without going down the abyss. Thankfully.

Something that both of us realized as we were chatting is that we were both laser focused on individual things and not the whole picture. It’s something that is too easy to get into. Once you start talking about a specific problem the person you’re talking to will often get on the defensive. It’s a natural thing to do when you perceive that someone’s talking you down.

The problem is that this tends to build on itself and you get to a point where you are each other just getting on each others nerves rather than trying to get to the root of the issue. The more it happens, the more you look for ammunition. Ammunition to lob at your friend. Or defend yourself.

None of this is productive.

It’s like the old saw about missing the forest for the trees. We were arguing about whether the trees were conifers or deciduous and not what the problem actually was.

We left that in a bad spot last night. Stupid trees.

Today, after a night’s rest and some time for contemplation the forest was a lot more clear.

We’re not in a clearing yet, but we’re not climbing uphill sniping either.  :-)