Arguing is a part of any relationship. You argue with friends, parents, siblings, teammates, and significant others. Arguing is a skill that takes time to learn, and no, I don’t mean learning to debate and argue hot-button topics like a speech and debate team in high school. The skill in arguing I want to talk about is avoiding being toxic. You can argue with someone and let them know how you feel without becoming a toxic person who makes everything personal. So, here are some tips on how to argue.
Tips on How to Argue
The biggest thing you can do when arguing with someone is to remain calm. It’s so easy to let emotions swallow you up. Anger, frustration, and annoyance lead to saying things we don’t mean and hurting feelings. Don’t ignore your feelings because that is just as bad. Burying your feelings will lead to resentment. Instead, you should acknowledge and name your feelings to conduct yourself in a way that isn’t toxic.
Don’t Make It Personal
If you let your emotions get the better of you. Do it if you need to take a timeout from the argument because things are getting too heated. Communicate with your partner that you need some time to cool down so you can resume your discussion. We can say some hurtful things in the heat of things that we don’t necessarily mean. Don’t be toxic. There is no reason to be defensive if you are arguing healthily. Your partner should not be attacking you, and you should not be attacking your partner. One of the easiest forms of “making it personal” is name-calling. “Don’t be such an idiot” or “Don’t be so stupid” might not sound as harsh or hurtful as calling some a B****, but it can still leave a sting. Respect goes a long way when trying to resolve an argument.
Focus on the Point
Argue about the topic at hand. Arguments aren’t the time to start airing out everyone’s dirty laundry. It will just turn into a mud-slinging fight. At that point, you’re arguing for arguing sake, and what’s the point? Focus on the point. It’s the only way you will find any resolution between the two of you. Or would you rather be in an endless cycle of arguing about the same things over and over again? No one wants to be that couple, but it is easy to get there.
Learn to Actively Listening
You ever see two people arguing, where one person is talking, and the other isn’t even listening; they are only getting ready to argue some more? Instead of listening to what someone has to say, some of us slip into fight mode. Whether it’s pride or stubbornness, not listening will help no one. Take a deep breath, remain calm, and truly listen to your partner’s words. Ignoring them will do no good.
Validate Their Feelings
Nothing is more frustrating than having someone invalidate your feelings. What might not be a huge deal to you might be to your partner. Don’t shrug off what they are saying or downplay it. Listen to them, and make them feel heard and understood. If you can do that, you can start working towards a resolution or even just healthier general communication. Naming and validating your partner’s feelings leads to calmer, more resolute communication. Who doesn’t want that?
Apologize When You’re Wrong
There is no winning an argument, or at the very least, there shouldn’t be winning in an argument. Arguing with a significant other isn’t about proving who is right or wrong or establishing some weird sort of dominance. Instead, arguing is to help resolve built-up tension or problems that fester between the two of you. So if you realize you are wrong, apologize. Swallow your pride and stubbornness and say, “I’m sorry.” It’s not that hard.
Try to Resolve the Issue
Arguments are usually caused by something. Tension builds, and emotions run high, but you should try to find a resolution at the end of the day. Maybe it will take time, couples therapy, or maybe you figure out a way to work it out immediately, but whichever course you take, make sure you try to work it out. Leaving an unsettled argument between the two of you will fester between you and create growing resentment.
What other tips do you have for arguing fairly?