how to win arguments and improve your relationship
Arguing is like doing karate. Both are misinterpreted as something aggressive where one party defeats the other. However the philosophy behind karate teaches its followers to be “inwardly humble and outwardly gentle”, because only this way can anyone stay focused and be open to a real solution. When there is a winner, there is a loser too. And losers tend to stay unsatisfied (or even angry) and there is chance that the conflict will rise again. Not an ideal outcome I guess.
Nobody likes fighting. Deep inside we all just want to be understood. There are lots of articles on the web which describe how to win arguments quickly and in a dominant way. I’m not going to do that. My goal is to show you those awesome communication tactics which will help you to solve the conflict AND make the relationship better. So both of you can win 😉
And here comes the step-by-step guide for a more effective communication:
Maybe this one is the most difficult part. You should leave your bad feelings behind and listen to the other person very actively. This helps to calm the other party and gives them security, besides you will receive tons of useful information. So do not interrupt, just show your interest by nodding and asking questions to be able to understand the other perspective completely.
Now your partner is satisfied, because you listened: it’s time to make them glad! Try to repeat what you have heard by rephrasing it. Make sure to be as neutral as possible, don’t judge the other person or the opinion itself – even if it was judgmental or insulting. Don’t let yourself carried away by emotions. Your time will come, be patient. Now you will be able to clear misunderstandings and show that you really want to understand. For example:
– I’m fed up with you! I hate that you just don’t clean up your dirt.
– So you feel that I neglect doing the chores?
You will be surprised how great this trick works! It turns the angry person in a rational being again. 😉
If you concentrate on understanding your partner’s motives it helps you to stay kind and effective. Maybe he or she is just tired? Or wants more quality time for her-/himself? Or just feels her-/himself alone? What could lie under the surface? Usually it’s not about the chores.
Now it’s your turn to share your feelings. You can also reflect on what has been said by your partner. The most important trick to remember is the following: talk only about yourself. Do not say “You are hurting me” or “You pressure me all the time”. Say “I’m feeling hurt” and “I feel stressed all the time” instead. Naturally there is a way to pinpoint the other person’s mistakes as well. Use this formula:
when you <do something> I feel <something>
An example: When you tell me to be quiet or shut up, I feel insecure.
Now everyone should feel that what needed to be said is said, so start bringing your standpoints closer to each other. Communicate your needs: think through what your goals are and share them in a polite way. But remember to give a real opportunity for your partner to say no (it will be useful in the long run). Just keep on being open-minded. Kindness is like the flu: you will spread it eventually to the ones next to you. 🙂
Don’t let the topic to be changed. If your partner brings up old conflicts, just say: “I hear you, but let’s stick with our current topic, we can talk about this one later. I promise.”
I know how difficult it is to stay calm during an argument, but believe me, practice makes the master. You will get better and better every single time – and it affects the ones you are talking to as well. It’s totally worth it 😉