Every relationship has its tense moments – here’s how to fight so that everybody walks away a winner. These tips come from Ike Lasater, mediator and conflict resolution specialist, and Natural Health magazine:

  • Observe your situation objectively and without judgment. Describe what you see or hear without adding any interpretations. Instead of judging: “She’s off her rocker.” Try realism: “I was late and she’s screaming at me.” And if you refer to what someone said, don’t paraphrase - repeat it back as accurately as possible.
  • Say “I”. That’s the first step toward taking responsibility for your feelings. So, instead of saying, “You make me feel so angry!” Say, “I feel angry.” And instead of saying, “You said I’m heartless,” say “I heard you say I’m heartless.” Make sure you both understand each other’s perspective.
  • Take it slow. Don’t rush to simply fix the problem and move on. If you stop and really hear what the other person has to say, both of you are more likely to get what you want.
  • Look at the other side. When you’re in a tense situation, set your feelings and needs aside for a minute – and imagine the feelings and needs of the person facing you. And make a guess as to where they’re coming from. Like, “Do you need to know that I’m listening?” or “Do you want me to apologize?”
  • Clearly request what you want, but give them the option to say “no”. For example, instead of saying: “Just don’t be late again.” Try “Would you be willing to get home at 6 o’clock, like we agreed?” If they say “yes,” great – if they don’t, at least you’ve left the door open for further discussion.

If you’d like to go further, check out the book: What’s Making You Angry: 10 Steps to Transforming Anger So Everyone Wins.