It’s hard not to take an “every man for himself/anything goes” attitude when caught in an argument with a loved one.
Setting some personal ground rules for yourself or your relationship can help keep arguing a healthy, useful means of communication instead of an opportunity to tear one another down.
Although they’ll be most helpful if you, after reflecting on your own difficulties and strengths when communicating, personalize them to your liking, here are some suggested rules to follow to get the most out of an argument without letting it get the best of you.
Put The Past In Its Place
Although it’s not always possible, avoid bringing up the past. This rings especially true of past fights or offenses that have since been resolved. While it’s easy to find fault with past mistakes, if they have been discussed, handled or apologized for it is necessary that you let them lie. Bringing up the past puts your partner in defensive mode. It also makes you, as a pair, lose track of what you originally began arguing about.
Benefit From A Break
If you are both able to acknowledge that an argument has lost its direction, and instead has become a way to hurt the other because you yourself are feeling hurt, then by all means give yourself a break! Although it can be hard to pull yourself from a heated moment, a breather can give you both time to cool down and return to the issue more open to fair and goal-driven discussion. Sometimes an argument begins to take on a circular pattern — one accusation leads to another, and to another without any hope of resolve.
Pick Up On Peace Offerings
Whether it’s in the form of a joke or an apology, be on the look for an attempt by your partner to end or begin ending the argument. While your initial reaction may be one of offense (“My partner isn’t taking this seriously.”) or opposition (“I’m not done.”) at least consider where you stand in the argument and what your partner’s attempt means. Unless you see the argument heading in a clear, productive direction, if one of you feels ending it then is the way to go, maybe honoring that feeling is the way to go. You’ll likewise appreciate it when they in turn recognize your attempt at ending another argument. Acknowledging your partner’s “request” to end the argument will create trust between you and make individual arguments feel less major.
Listen Like You Mean It
It might be tempting to spend the time your partner is speaking to plan what you will say next, but you should actively work to avoid doing this. Be present in the argument. Whatever is happening, being said at that exact moment, be a part of it. Hear the words your partner is saying to you, think about the meanings behind them, look at their face when they form those words and allow it all to mean something to you. In the same way that when you speak you are trying hard to convey something, have them understand, they are striving for you to comprehend their words.
Staying present can be a difficult task to say the least but there is help out there for you. Here are 7 Ways To Stop Looking In Your Rearview Mirror And Focus On The New Road In Front Of You.
|Written on 10/4/2013 by Dr. Scott Darling. Dr. Scott Darling of KC Healthy believes arguing smartly can play a major role in forming the relationship you want to have.|
Photo Credit: Christian Bucad