Any relationship will inevitably face conflict. Whether it’s small disagreements or explosive arguments, dealing with these difficult moments can feel overwhelming. How you respond in the moment can have a big impact on your relationship long-term. In this blog post, we explore 6 tips to keep calm during a conflict and how that will ultimately strengthen your bond as partners, friends, or family members.
Ask yourself why you’re arguing
It’s important to ask yourself why you’re arguing. Before diving into any conversation, try to identify what you truly want to come out of the argument. Are you trying to solve a problem, or are you trying to prove that you’re right? If you’re not sure what you’re hoping to achieve, it’s best to take a break and revisit the conversation when you’re calm. If you’re still not sure what you want after taking a break, try this exercise: Imagine you’re having a conversation with your partner in which you feel emotional but don’t lose control. What would you say? Visualization like this can help us stay grounded during an argument. If we’re able to take a step back and look at the situation from an outside perspective, we might notice that our emotions are getting in the way of the problem being solved.
Take a break
If you’re getting overwhelmed by your emotions, try taking a break from the conversation. If you’re in a long-term relationship, this should be a normal part of your communication. If you’re in a more casual relationship, it can be harder to know when to take a break, especially if you don’t want to be perceived as rude. When you’re in a relationship where you’re constantly arguing, it can be easy to get stuck in a negative pattern. To break the pattern and start fresh, it’s important to take a break from each other. This doesn’t have to be a long-term break, but it does have to be a break where you’re not engaging in the argument. Take a walk, go for a drive, or visit a friend to get some distance between the two of you so you can come back to the conversation with a new perspective.
Focus on your own well-being
When we’re in the middle of a conflict, it can be easy to get caught up in proving that we’re right and proving that the other person is wrong. This can quickly lead to name-calling, hurtful comments, and a breakdown in the relationship. If you feel yourself getting stuck in this pattern, try to focus on your own well-being. Instead of focusing on how wrong the other person is, try to focus on how you’re feeling. If you’re feeling hurt or angry, remember that this is not a reflection of who you are as a person. This is a reflection of the fact that someone said or did something that hurt you. It’s important to remember that the relationship between you and the other person is between two equals. Name-calling and attacking the other person’s character won’t resolve the conflict.
Look at the facts
When emotions are running high, it’s easy to get caught up in believing that everything your partner is saying is true. It’s important to pause the conversation and look at the facts. If the two of you are in an argument about finances, try to look at the facts objectively. If the two of you are in an argument about parenting, try to look at the facts objectively. “Everything she’s saying is wrong!” is not a helpful statement. Instead, try to look at the facts of the situation. “We agreed that I would take care of the finances, so I don’t think she should have a say in our spending.”
When we’re in an argument, it can be easy to forget that our partner is having a similar experience to us. They are feeling hurt, angry, and defensive. Even though the situation is not ideal, try to empathize with your partner. If your partner is upset about something, try to imagine what it would feel like from their perspective. If you’re in a situation where you’re upset about something, try to imagine how it would feel if your partner felt the same way about it. This is not about taking sides and agreeing with everything your partner says. It’s about acknowledging that each of you is hurting and trying to be the bigger person. While you’re in the middle of an argument, it’s easy to forget that the other person is also experiencing a lot of pain.
During an argument, it can be easy to get stuck in a negative pattern where both of you are trying to prove that you’re right. Negotiating can help break this pattern and move the conversation toward a solution. For example, if you’re in a fight about finances, try to come up with a solution that respects the facts and is mutually beneficial. You might decide that you will take care of all the finances for the next two months so that your partner has a chance to catch up on sleep and feel less stressed. Or you might decide that you will each take care of a certain percentage of expenses each month so that neither of you feels overburdened.
Don’t take it personally
When we’re in the middle of an argument, it can be easy to take things personally and feel like your partner is attacking you personally. If you’re feeling attacked, try to take a step back and remind yourself that the situation is not about you. It’s easy to get defensive when someone says something that we perceive as criticism. It’s important to try to separate yourself from the situation and remember that the argument is not a reflection of who you are as a person. It’s just two people who care about each other having a disagreement. When we’re in an argument, it can be easy to lose control of our emotions. These 6 tips will help you keep calm during this challenging time.