If I ever ask a group of people about the "right" way to store socks, I generally find two camps: those who make a little ball out of each pair, and those who just tuck the tops of pairs together. Many members of both groups will state categorically that their method is the correct way. They will even offer explanations as to why their method is correct. The argument can last a little while and, because of my interest in communication and personal belief systems, I admit I enjoy watching the debate unfold.
Of course, there is no "correct" way to store socks -- whatever works for you, works and is therefore ok. Yet, because putting socks away is usually something people learn at home when they are very small, it's something which feels like a factual, black and white issue. Something about which there is a definite right way to do it. Something for which there is a right answer.
Many of the things we feel are right and for which we argue, are actually simply opinions, beliefs and traditions rather than factual, provable matters. In fact, many breakdowns in communications, even relationships, occur because we mistake opinion as fact.
I recently worked with a client who was having constant arguments at home about differences over how different household tasks "should" be done -- each person believing that, not only was there a single, correct way to do each task (their way, of course), but that each was worth arguing about. The relationship was suffering because of all these small arguments yet, at the end of the day, all they were arguing about was the equivalent of how to store socks! What a sad waste of an otherwise sound relationship.
When you find yourself in any conflict about how something should be done or about which is the best team, or the best form of politics, remember to ask yourself these two questions:
Is this something which can be proved to be true, in all cases, for all people?
Are the consequences of a different approach damaging to anyone or anything?
If the honest answers, are "no" to both questions, then be open to agreeing to disagree. You don't have to change your belief or preference (though you might find you become more willing to compromise), just be more open to accepting that others' views are just as valid as yours, and probably feel just as right to them.
Of course, this isn't to say that you should stop debating or campaigning for the causes you believe in, it just means being able to separate the important stuff (for which one or both of the above questions can be answered with a "yes") from the unimportant. Otherwise, you might be wasting your time and spoiling otherwise good relationships arguing about socks (which should always be balled, of course ;-)