Arguments are inevitable. Whether it’s your spouse, your neighbor or a coworker, sooner or later you’re going to butt heads with someone who’s part of your life. So, here are a few ways to get your message across without making the situation worse, courtesy of Psychology Today.
- Cool off. If you get into a heated discussion, step back. According to psychologist Dr. John Gottman, people have an emotional period when they first get into an argument that makes it hard for them to think clearly. So, take a break for 30 minutes and settle down. Make sure you think about something ELSE for those 30 minutes, then take up the discussion again when you’re both calm.
- Dial down the conflict. You can do this by showing some affection for the person you’re arguing with. Ask them questions that show you’re interested in their point of view, such as “What do you need here?” Also, use a little humor. “I know this is an important issue for you – but you always look so cute with steam coming out of your ears. ” This’ll make you seem less critical and confrontational. Just let the other person know that you do take them seriously, even if you use humor.
- Talk about your own feelings and your needs. If you’re acknowledging the other persons needs at the same time, this won’t sound defensive.
- Work toward a solution. If your husband says, “We’re not going on dates like we usually do because you’re working too much,” you might suggest the next night you’ll finish up early. Tell him all that extra work might even let you pick up the check!
- Follow up. Gottman says people don’t always say what they want the first time around. So, a few days later, ask them again how they’re feeling. Ask if there’s anything else they want to talk about. Because if you don’t, you’ll wind up revisiting the issue during another fight down the road.