Why do we misunderstand each other?
One of the reasons you find yourself getting into arguments is because of misunderstandings between you and your partner. When we’re tired and stressed, it’s easy to think the worst. Sometimes, an innocent comment can be taken the wrong way.
Everyone argues, but not everyone argues well. Getting better at arguing together can help you solve your problems before they get worse.
The good news is that you can learn skills to help you get through arguments in a way that supports your relationship.
There are three simple steps to arguing better:
TALK IT OUT
WORK IT OUT
Step 1: STOP
The first step is to STOP. This means staying calm and listening. You can’t always control the way you feel, especially when an argument starts. But you can have some control over how you respond.
When you feel a conversation heating up, you can try some of these tips to help yourself say calm:
Take some deep breaths.
Relax your shoulders.
Count to 10.
Take some time out.
Go out for a walk with your partner.
Do you find yourselves arguing about the same things over and over again?
Sometimes an argument isn’t about what it first seems. An argument about money, or who does what, or who looks after the children, is rarely just about that. Understanding the root of the argument can help you talk about the things that are important to you.
Have a look at this diagram which show the things people argue about the most.
Step 2: TALK IT OUT
The second step is to talk through what’s going on. To do that, we have to two things:
See it differently. Try to see things from your partner’s point of view.
Speak for myself. Use ‘I’ statements to talk about how you are feeling.
You can help avoid arguments by using a soft ‘start up’
A harsh ‘start up’ is when you go straight in with a criticism or a mean comment. It can feel like an attack and may be met with a defensive response.
A soft ‘start up’ is a gentler way of bringing something up, that focuses on the issue at hand without blaming the other person. It might start with “I feel…”
Step 3: WORK IT OUT
Once you are able to stay calm and talk about it, you will be able to look for solutions you can both agree on.
This might be a good time to check in with your goals. Did you manage to set any? How are your getting on? Whether or not you set a goal, you might like to set a goal now.
You might set a goal to do with staying calm when you feel yourself getting upset in a disagreement with your partner. You can use some of the suggestions above.
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