How to Argue Effectively in a Relationship

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Things to keep in mind for arguing effectively in a relationship

  1. Do not jump to finding a solution to the argument until you are sure you understand the feelings of the other person and they understand you completely on the subject that you are having an argument about.

  2. Understand the feelings rather than fixing the problem.Ask questions, interview them. Get a clear picture of where they are coming from and what is their point of view.

  3. Listen - and do not think of what to “reply” while you are listening. Listen to understand the motivation behind the argument of the other.

  4. Respond by repeating in your words what you have understood, and put your point of view forward to make sure they understand you as well.

  5. Once both parties feel they understand the other without judgement or being defensive of any accusations imposed during the argument - the next step is to find a solution.

  6. The result or solution of the argument is going to leave both parties with a good feeling - as both parties feel heard and understood. A win-win.

 

An argument triggers 3 main emotions in a person - fear, pain and/or anger.

 

There are 3 types of communication styles that people often use subconsciously or consciously in an argument.

The Mahatma Gandhi’s

mahatma gandhi vector

  • A peacekeeper is the person in an argument who wants to avoid arguments at all cost, do not want to discuss the issue, and is ready to be apologetic - a “yes” man or woman

  • The Peacekeeper would say things like “I will do whatever you want”, or “I am okay, do not think about me”. Peace to be maintained - at any cost. Often disregarding the existence of any issue and quick to change the subject - “What issue? Let’s go out for dinner.”

  • The difficulty of the peacekeeper in expressing their true feelings of dissatisfaction, anger and confronting their disappointments leads to mental illnesses and depression.

  • The peacekeepers need to know that arguments - like any problems - can be solved and it does not make them a bad person if they talk about it.

 

Hello peacekeepers, it is OKAY to express anger in an argument.

 

Common solutions of Gandhi’s

  • There is no point discussing it. I’ll just wait until she is not mad anymore and forgets it.

  • Let him finish complaining, and then I'll apologize.

  • I’ll just get my boss a gift and he will forget about the earlier argument.

The Politicians

blaming in arguments

  • The accuser intentionally or unintentionally finds faults in the other as an immediate reflex to the argument and as a means to let the accused know why they are “wrong” and the argument should be stopped right now right away.

  • Instead of discussing the actual argument to find a solution, the accuser would say things like “You can never do anything correctly” or “You are just like your family”.

  • The accusers need to start expressing their own thoughts without attacking the person involved in the argument.

  • The next time you realize the person you are arguing with is in a “blame mode”, you know there is an emotion of pain and fear that is bothering them that you need to make them feel comfortable to speak about, instead of reciprocating the blame mode.

  • Listen with empathy.

Common solutions of the Politicians

  • I will let her know of her shortcomings and accuse her so this argument will end and she will know why I am right.

  • Let him finish complaining, and then I have a great reply to end this conversation.

  • How can my manager complain about my work? He is not even qualified to review my work.

The Ron Swansons

Ron Swanson bad in relationship problems

 

Ron Swanson feelings

  • The Ron Swansons are super technical, statistical, calm, composed, cool-headed computers who do not like to admit mistakes very often - and expect people to conform with their ideas and beliefs. Should we call this “The Sheldon Coopers”?

 

i am never wrong sheldon cooper

 

  • Although reason and logic is required to resolve conflicts, the Ron Swansons go overboard with technicalities,facts and statistics as Ron Swansons are afraid/stay away from emotions.

  • They prefer fixing the problem rather than understanding the motivation, feelings and point of view of the other party.

  • The Ron Swansons / Sheldon Coopers need someone to ask them how they actually feel.

 

Common solutions of Ron Swansons

  • There is no point discussing it. I’ll just wait until she is not mad anymore and forgets it.

  • May be it is that time of the month.

  • He is always so dramatic - i don’t want to know.

The WRONG communication style in handling arguments

argument couple fight

FLASHBACK!

 

Think of all the arguments that you have had with people that you can remember.

 

The root of every argument is the lack of mutual understanding and empathy.

 

Without empathy and understanding of the other person comes a defensive mode and the need to be “right” and “win” the battle, instead of figuring out the root cause and addressing it to find a solution.

 

The result of such a response to an argument or fight is

  • no outcome or solution found for the argument

  • no peace between the two parties

  • a dent in the relationship and how they see you as a person

  • bad feeling on both sides

  • hidden resentments against each other

 

No one was deemed “right”, and no one “won” the battle. And both parties have their own version of how the argument went. Either way, the argument was not resolved. And very likely you will have the same argument over and over again, because your partner/friend/boss does not feel good and does not feel heard.

 

An argument triggers 3 main emotions in a person - fear, pain and/or anger. The way people respond and handle to arguments and fights depends on how they handle their pain, anger and fear. These three emotions make it extremely difficult for a person to focus on understanding the motivations of the other person in saying what they are saying and feeling what they are feeling.


 

The RIGHT communication style in handling arguments

pain relief

Instead of letting pain, anger and fear takeover your emotions as soon as you sense an argument coming along the way, attempt to understand the feelings of the other person and why they feel the way they are feeling. Dig deeper.

 

Understand them and allow them to understand you.

 

Only then you are allowed to think of a solution - not before that. If you are too early with finding a solution - the solution to the argument is bound to leave both parties feeling bad and unsatisfied.

 

The only way to win an argument is to feel good about the outcome of an argument. The only way to win an argument is to make sure both parties feel good at the result of the argument - which is a feeling you get once both parties equally feel understood by the other.

 

Once you have achieved that level of understanding between each other, now you are free to find a solution that is a win-win for both of you.

 

Now, you can be sure that both of you will find a solution that will leave both of you satisfied and happier than before.

Understanding by asking questions

  • I really want to know how important this is for you?

  • Why is this important for you?

  • Why do you think that way about me?

  • Understand what you still don’t know and ask more. “I understand it’s just the way you are, but I want to know why it is bothering you so I can completely understand how you are feeling and why you are feeling, so that I can understand you better and find a solution.”

Make them understand you

  • Acknowledge your assumptions.

  • Acknowledge what you have heard from them.

  • “Maybe I have started limiting our expenses as I have started to fear of running out of money. That is the reason why I have recently started questioning your spending habits, but never found the courage to explicitly express it with you. I want to feel comfortable enough that we have saved enough for ourselves and our children. But I do get where you are coming from.”

  • Let them respond and make sure they understood you completely.

  • Finally, move to find a solution.

But, I don’t care about understanding you

i dont care

Although some people may have mastered the skill of “not reacting” to an argument aimed at them, they intentionally opt to go the widely followed route of responding with a comeback, and intentionally not making any effort to understand your point of view.

 

While the right communication style in handling arguments may not seem as big news, however, following it requires a lot of calmness of Ron Swanson and peace of Gandhi - which can seem to be a lot of effort when you don’t hold much importance to the life of the other person.

 

Not every individual goes through the process of the Right communication style of argument with everyone and can be very selective. People often reserve the effort of conflict resolution with only selected people and relationships that really matter to them.

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