By Allie Brickman
It happens to the best of us. We’re having a normal conversation, a button gets pushed, and all of a sudden we’re in a heated verbal (hopefully not physical) match in which the vein in our neck may or may not pop.
Though it takes two to quarrel- you can only control yourself. Thus, if you find yourself in the throws of an argument you want no part of, you may have to take a step back and be the bigger person. This doesn’t mean saying, “You’re right, you’re the best, I will now kiss your feet-I hope you showered.” Rather, It means putting aside pride and anger and focusing on truly trying to understand where the person you’re arguing with is coming from. Chances are, underneath their anger, is hurt. In fact the angrier we are, the more damaged and hurt we feel beneath that rage. So if ending the argument and mending the relationship with your fellow arguer is the goal, here’s how you can achieve it:
The number one way to end an argument is by using: Responsive Listening. That is, hearing and reflecting back to the person what you think he or she may be saying and/or feeling. If your partner exclaims, “You never try to be affectionate with me, I’m always the one trying to be close to you!” Your initial instinct might be to respond with, “What?! I gave you a kiss before you left this morning!” A response like this will only add momentum to the argument. Instead, saying something like, “It seems like you feel I don’t want to be close to you” breaks the cycle of aggression. Tone of voice is important, so making sure to say this in a sincere way is key. They may retort back in an angry tone at first, perhaps saying something like “Yeah! I feel like ever since you got your promotion, you’re job is your new partner!”
But you’ve now gotten them to open up more and express feeling rather than content.
The thing about feelings is whether we feel they are warranted or not, we can’t dispute whether or not someone is experiencing them. If you partner feels abandoned or unappreciated the best way to help them is not to fight them on it, but to: Acknowledge their Feelings and Offer Compassion. Something like, “I know I’ve been working so much lately…but the last thing I want is to make you feel unwanted.”
Once you stop focusing on your own point and on trying to get your partner to hear it (yelling louder never helps like we think it will), you’ll often find that focusing on your partner’s words and trying to hear them will ultimately get you heard more than any raised volume ever could.
Most of us don’t enjoy arguing…especially with those we care about. By using: Responsive Listening, Acknowledgment of Feelings, and Compassion, you can resolve arguments and increase healthy and loving communication in your relationships.