We all have arguments, whether it’s with our spouse, family member, or friend. Over the years I have gathered up 5 tips to communicate in an argument that work for me.
1. Listen to hear, not to respond
This phrase has been around the block a lot over the years, but it is the essential first step! Many times, in an argument we are listening to the other person and planning what we will say in response. Stop! Actually listen to what the person is saying. They have a side on this topic for a reason and you will miss it if you keep thinking about yourself!
2. Validate their feelings
Once you have actually heard their side, acknowledge that they have a right to feel this way. This is especially important if the argument is over something of great value to you both. Take a moment to reflect this: You are passionate about this topic, you believe your view is correct, you want to be heard and understood and will be hurt if the other person dismisses you. Well, they feel the same way! Let them know that you hear them.
3. Treat them how you want to be treated
Yes yes, this is another phrase that we see all the time, but it is very important here! When you are in the midst of a big fight, do you want the person to curse at you and bring up stuff from the past? I sure hope not! So you better not do it either! Your needs are just at great as theirs, treat them that way.
4. Be open to change
This is probably the most difficult to do, but it is important! Remember that you are both human, and you will constantly grow and change. Being able to admit you were wrong or allowing yourself to accept a different viewpoint is so challenging, but it can also be so worth it.
Often times in big arguments you will come to an impasse. You are each correct and you are not going to give in. Find something small to compromise about. Something where you each give a little. This will not solve the issue, however, it will help to make sure your fight doesn’t last for days and days. The next time this issue comes up, maybe one of you compromises a little more.
Think about how this argument went. Don’t think about who won or what you could have said, that will waste days. Instead, focus on how the two of you behaved towards each other. Are there areas where you can improve? If so try and work on them next time. Are there things the other person said or did that you found hurtful or unfair? Try and talk to them about it. They won’t know your needs unless you express them.
A few takeaways
Obviously, this is not an exhaustive list and does not cover every situation. There are some arguments where this does not apply! If you are in an argument with someone you love, just remember to keep the fight about the issue, not the person. If you are in an argument with someone who you don’t know (i.e. Facebook troll), know when to walk away. Finally, if the person you are fighting with is unwilling to use these guidelines, they may not be worth fighting with in the first place.
Did you find these 5 tips on how to communicate in an argument helpful? Want more? Check out this tips on how to set goals!