How often has it happened that you end up in an argument; be it with your significant other, a friend, a family member or a colleague; and you just can’t seem to get your messages across or you struggle in finding an effective resolution for an often simple situation?
I’m a bit of a hypocrite writing a post on effective and constructive ways to have an argument, however, as the saying goes “Those who don’t do…” So a few tips from a more life coach point of view rather than a personal one (as I’ll take notes and try to continue to apply these to myself and the ones in my life):
1) Be direct and to the point
This does not mean you switch off your filter and say whatever is on your mind, but rather, focus on the main issue you are trying to communicate (without a never-ending back story attached to it).
2) Don’t be mean
As it often goes with arguments, negative emotions can sometimes take over the reins resulting in the saying of hurtful and mean things to the other person, just to get a reaction or because you are angry. These are things that won’t always be forgotten once the fight has died down!
3) Forgive, not forget
When someone has said something hurtful that upset you, but you’ve talked it over and decided to move on, it is not easy to forget. But it is easier to forgive…I read somewhere that holding on to a grudge and anger is like grasping a hot coal with the intention of throwing it at someone else.. you’re the one that end up burnt.
Often when people are arguing they’re just waiting for their turn to speak in order to defend their point and might not always really hear what the other one is saying. Listening to each other and finding out what it really is you’re trying to say… can sometimes even lead to the conclusion that you’re trying to say the same thing!
5) Take a break.
Some of us want to dig in and talk that sh*t out for hours on end, others need the occasional break to cool off and reflect. Respect that about one another and find a common ground where maybe a break is taken, but then an agreement is made to re-visit the conversation at a later time.
6) Agree to Disagree
How important is it for the other person to know that you are angry/annoyed/right? Is it worth a heated discussion or not? Maybe pause and reflect, and if you’re still as mad as you were 24 hours ago, it might be worth bringing it up with them.
7) There is no need to ‘convert’ others to your opinion
The goal of an argument is often that you both try to explain how you are feeling, the reason you feel that way, and the outcome you had in mind. There is no need to spend hours trying to convince the other person that their side is wrong and you are the winner. There is no need for a winner or a loser… just an effective outcome.
8) Don’t be condescending.
Just because someone doesn’t agree with you, does not mean they are stupid or wrong. Speaking to someone as if they are a 4 year old, will only add insult and escalate the situation.
9) Don’t yell
The volume of your voice, will not determine the validity of your argument. Most people, when getting yelled at, will only shut down and focus on their thought and a useful comeback they can use on you later. They won’t be listening.
It is necessary to argue in life! It would be freaky if we didn’t disagree from time to time (the world would be a pretty boring place if we all agreed on the same things and never challenged each other). And of course; it is important to express how you feel as well: your anger, disappointment, excitement, you name it! We can’t all hug each other, sit on a couch and talk about how we need to ‘feel our feelings’, sometimes you just gotta get mad!! But we can try and find constructive ways to get to the end result…