Disagreements aren’t necessarily a bad thing.
It’s more about how we disagree rather than the actual topic. When you keep disagreements from becoming destructive, they can even be productive.
We all experience conflict in our relationships. However, fighting fair can end up making your relationship even stronger. Of course, that can be easier said than done when you’re in the heat of an argument.
If you’re tired of disagreements that don’t seem to go anywhere, keep some of these suggestions in mind. By using them during your next argument, you can keep it from becoming destructive, and you’re more likely to reach a resolution.
Stay Calm and Express Yourself Clearly
Perhaps the biggest rule you should keep in mind during a disagreement is to stay calm. Feeling strongly about something makes it easy to be loud and somewhat forceful. That can make you seem more aggressive. As a result, the person you’re arguing with will often try to be just as aggressive.
Instead, express yourself in a cool, calm and clear manner. Remaining calm will help you to express your thoughts and feelings more easily. Plus, it’s also more likely the person who disagrees with you will hear you out.
Yelling or shouting angrily won’t encourage them to pay attention to what you’re really saying. They’ll only hear your loudness and want to get away.
Be Specific with Each Issue
If your disagreement is about more than one issue, it’s important to be specific with each one. Don’t lay out a summary of everything that might be upsetting you. Instead, go over each problematic issue in detail. Be specific as to why you disagree.
If you throw everything in all at once, it’s harder to resolve even one issue, let alone all of them.
Avoid Personal Attacks
When arguments get heated, it’s easy to start bringing up things that aren’t relevant to the situation. In an attempt to gain leverage, some people choose to fire insults at the person they’re arguing with. This only brings more tension and drama to the situation. Name-calling or bringing in subjects that don’t matter isn’t going to solve the problem. It will make the other person even less likely to hear your side of the disagreement.
Instead, be civil with the person you’re disagreeing with. Just because your thoughts don’t necessarily line up with theirs doesn’t mean you have to be enemies. If you remain respectful with each other, you’re more likely to resolve your conflict.
Understand Your Own Goals
Before you really engage in an argument, try to ask yourself what you want to get out of it. Or, ask yourself if arguing about this topic is even worth it.
You’re likely looking for a certain outcome. But would you be content with any other outcome?
By understanding what you want to achieve by engaging in a disagreement, it’s easier to keep a level head. You’ll know what you’re willing to accept and where you’re not willing to budge. This enables you to find the right words or points during the argument itself.
Always express yourself with your words, and never your actions. If you feel passionate about something and someone disagrees with you, calm words and feelings are the best way to get your point across.
By using some of these suggestions, it’s more likely that your side of the argument will be heard and considered.
When you stay calm, you can also give more thought to another person’s point of view. It’s a much less stressful way to argue, and it can actually lead to productive resolutions.
Take the First Step…
If you’re ready to improve the way you and your partner handle disagreements, I would like to help. Please contact me via phone or email so we can discuss how we might work together to achieve your therapeutic goals as quickly and effectively as possible.
I look forward to hearing from you.
Linda K. Laffey, MFT