Conflict is a natural part of any relationship. Whether it’s being able to resolve conflicts within a marriage, or between parents and children — It is something we all have to learn to deal with. In this post, we’ll outline eight tips to help stop an argument before it starts.
Take a time out.
When you feel yourself starting to get angry or frustrated, take a deep breath and step away from the situation for a few minutes. If possible, leave the room for some quiet time so that you can collect your thoughts and allow yourself some breathing room. This will help calm your emotions and prevent the situation from escalating further.
Use “I” statements.
Instead of saying “You always leave the seat up,” say “I feel frustrated when I come home from work and see that the toilet seat is still up.” When using “I” statements instead of blaming language, you’re more likely to get an understanding response from your loved one without feeling attacked or defensive. This can also help reduce defensiveness when someone else is involved in the argument since they’ll be less likely to take things personally.
Don’t try to win an argument when you’re angry.
When you’re in an argument with someone, it’s easy to get caught up in the moment and lose sight of what’s really important. It can be tempting to try and win the argument instead of resolving the issue at hand. But this is a mistake. When you’re angry, your emotions will cloud your judgment and prevent you from thinking clearly. That’s why it’s so important to let your emotions cool down before addressing the conflict at hand.
Decide if you really want to argue this point.
In other words, pick your battles. Be honest with yourself about what is worth arguing over and what isn’t worth the time or effort required for conflict resolution. If you think something isn’t worth arguing over then why bother? If you get into an argument over something that doesn’t matter as much as another issue, then you’re wasting time and energy on something that can be resolved easily or not at all.
Own up to your part of the problem.
When you’re in a fight or an argument with someone else, the first thing you need to do is take responsibility for your own actions and words. Don’t blame anyone else for what happened, even if there was someone else involved who may have caused some of the issues. Instead, try saying something like “I’m sorry for what I did” or “I can see how this might have seemed wrong from your point of view”. This helps show that you’re owning up to your part of the problem rather than trying to shift blame onto someone else.
Learn how to deflect criticism gracefully.
It’s easy for us to get defensive when we’re criticized. We feel like we need to defend ourselves and prove our worthiness. But, if you want to stop an argument before it starts — You need to learn how to deflect criticism gracefully. When someone criticizes you, try responding with “Thanks for sharing that”, instead of getting defensive and explaining yourself or defending yourself against the criticism.
Learn how to disagree without being disagreeable.
When people are trying to make a point — They often start off by saying something like “I think…” or “I feel…” These phrases are called hedges because they show that there may be another side of the story or another way of looking at things besides their own perspective. This makes it easier for others in the conversation not only to hear what they have to say but also to agree with them without being disagreeable about it.
Share one thing you can both agree on.
When you’re in the middle of an argument, it’s easy to get caught up in your own emotions and forget that there are other points of view out there. Instead of getting caught up in your own point of view, try sharing one thing you agree on with your partner. This shows that even though you’re not seeing eye-to-eye right now, you can still find common ground.
Learning how to effectively communicate with your friends, family, and significant others is one of the most valuable skills you can have. It may not be easy, and it certainly won’t happen overnight: communication is a skill that takes time and practice to master. But when you do get it down, there’s nothing quite like watching a good argument grow into an honest conversation. It’s a beautiful thing.