How to argue
Many people think arguing in a relationship is a bad thing, but the truth is – nothing says more about the resilience of a relationship than two people being able to handle conflict. Resolving conflicts together will only serve to strengthen your relationship as it boosts communication – which is essential for a healthy relationship.
The key is fighting correctly, in a way that improves communication and resolves the conflict in question. Take a look below for some tips to help improve your arguing style.
Keep the end goal in mind
Before a conversation turns into an argument, ask yourself what is more important – being right, or being happy. This should remind you of the ultimate goal – to be happy, not to win. In some cases this can save you from an unnecessary fight.
Avoid using grandiose statements
When you’re in the heat of the moment it can be easy to make statements such as “You always…” and “You never…” to make your point, but this doesn’t focus on the issue at hand. It also makes general assumptions about your partner’s character based on a couple of past situations. You are in fact more likely to resolve your differences if you treat the event as an isolated instance, without looking to the past.
Think about your conjunctions
Sometimes it’s the little words that make the difference. Try replacing the word ‘but’ with ‘and’ in your statements. This transforms “I know you want to visit your parents, but I’m busy” to “I know you want to visit your parents and I’m busy, so how can we work around this?”. It makes your statement more constructive and less aggressive.
Confirm that you are listening and understand
Not listening to one another in an argument is a sure-fire way to make things worse. Make a conscious decision to really listen to your partner and ask questions like “Can you help me understand why you feel like this?” and confirm your understanding by repeating your understanding of the situation, i.e. “What I’m hearing is…”.
Ask for what you want, rather than what you don’t want
Doing this changes a complaint to a constructive comment. Be direct and ask for what you want, such as “I’d appreciate it if you could put the washing in the laundry bin” instead of “Stop leaving your dirty washing on the floor!”.