We all have little arguments with our partner from time to time. Someone forgets to clean up after themselves, someone loses the remote control to the TV or someone still owes money for last week’s groceries. These little conflicts are a normal part of life.
However, these arguments have a nasty tendency of evolving from something relatively small into something huge and unmanageable. A seemingly harmless argument over whose turn it is to hoover the carpets can suddenly escalate into an all-out war.
When these arguments occur, they can take us by surprise and leave us feeling upset and vulnerable. Luckily, by learning the following skills, you can de-escalate the argument and prevent it from turning into a bitter brawl.
We often lose control in the heat of the moment and our emotions take over. Take control of your emotions by stopping and counting to ten in your head. Relax your shoulders and breathe deeply. Once you’ve calmed down, try and get your thoughts in order and figure out what you’re trying to say. It may seem odd to suddenly stop in an argument and start doing this, so tell your partner that you need to leave the room and calm down in private.
It’s easy for us to fight back and say hurtful things to people in an argument. However, by doing this you’re only going to make things worse. Your partner will probably react to this by hurling insults back at you and it will go into a downward spiral. If your partner says something nasty during the argument, hold your tongue.
Use ‘I’ not ‘You’
Talk about how you feel, don’t make assumptions about your partner and tell them what they think or feel. By making assumptions about what’s going on inside your partner’s head, you’re bound to make them feel even more aggravated.
Above all: Listen
Show respect to your partner during the argument and listen to what he or she has to say. By doing this, they are more likely to listen to you. Disregarding your partner’s comments or not paying attention to them can wind them up more, so concentrate on what they have to say, even if you don’t agree with what it is.