How to Diffuse Any Argument: 3 Helpful Tips

how to resolve an argument

Better than a thousand hollow words is one word that brings peace. – Buddha

Let’s agree for a moment that arguments are pointless. Let’s concede that there’s not a single person in this world who thinks exactly the way you think, who knows and believes the things you know and believe, nor acts and responds to certain situations specifically, in the same manner, you would. Obviously, we need to remember this if we want to get along with people.

Have you ever shouted so much just to make sure that the opponent hears you and gets your point? I sure did. I was convinced that the more facts I had in my arsenal to throw, the better my chances of convincing someone were. I was sure that I was always RIGHT and the opponent was perpetually wrong.

Little did I know how arrogant and childish my behaviour was and how offended people would actually get by that.

Have you ever felt a bitter aftertaste from an argument, even though you felt that you were right? Especially if you had a fight with someone you love?

It took me a while to realise that I had to put my pride and love on a scale and decide which one matters most.

Naturally, it is challenging to accept that you don’t have to “be right all the time”, especially when you truly want to save a relationship from unnecessary heartache and resentment that accumulates over the years with each fight.

How to Diffuse an Argument: 3 Helpful Tips

You Are Entitled to Your Opinion… Just Like Everyone Else

Why do we feel hurt when someone says that what we think or believe is silly or straightforward wrong? It’s because our ego identifies itself with our opinions. Therefore, when our point of view gets challenged, we take a defensive position as if our ego will get destroyed otherwise.

When I had my solid opinion with a tiny factual basis to back it up, I would look condescending at the opponent masking the sense of approaching defeat… Let’s face it. We all like it when our ego gets stroked gently. That is why we are so protective of our opinions.

I would brace myself and look condescending still thinking that MY PRECIOUS opinion is so much more superior that the “silly one” the other person suggested and I disagreed with.

Don’t you think we would have found the world to be utterly boring if we had to agree on everything and see the things from one perspective only?

Let’s decide to adopt a notion that everyone is entitled to their opinion and we have to respond to it in a respectful manner. You don’t have to agree, but you have to be respectful at least.

agree

Search for the Common Ground, not More Stuff to Argue About

Have you ever fought for so long that your mind spaced out for a second only to “come back” and realize that you don’t even remember WHY it all began in the first place? Why does the argument now looks like a tornado sweeping across Kansas’ fields? One thing simply led to another and the whole cyclone went out of control. Calm down.

Clearly, it’s perfectly normal and absolutely natural to have an argument based on disagreements.

What we do need to keep in mind though is that our main goal of any fight is to reach a solution and a common agreement. Furthermore, we need to slow down, take a deep breath and lay out our differences in order to hear and understand each other and see from which point the other person is coming from.

What is it that your opponent is trying to get you to understand? What is so important to him/her and how can both of you come to a mutual agreement?

life quotes

Concentrate On THIS Broken Vase Just NOW

In order to make your way out of an argument productively, concentrate on finding a solution to the problem that’s arisen on the horizon NOW. If the hypothetical vase was broken just now, there is no point in going on discussing a glass that was broken 10 years ago! Stick to the point in the NOW.

Bypass the urge and that burning desire to “win an argument”. Focus on the present moment and try to avoid pointless hissing about the past. Why?

Ask yourself this: How exactly does it change your past when you are boiling in bitterness, and how could it change your present moment if only you chose to let go? 

What is it that you surely can do now to give someone the kind of love and understanding you’d like to receive yourself?

And last, but not least… if you feel angry and frustrated, calm down… Open the door to solutions.

explain

Before reacting: think. Step outside and take a deep breath, especially when you feel as if you are moments away from blowing up. It takes time and patience to teach yourself new ways of responding. The most important thing is to learn to let go of resentment and give way to love, understanding, and compassion.

We all yearn to be loved and understood. Let’s open our ears and our hearts to hear what the person close to us has to say. Let’s be more understanding and attentive.

photo from vk.com 

Lesya Li

Lesya Li

Founder, Head of Content at HavingTime
Lesya Li is a founder of HavingTime – a digitally native story magazine for people that need to share inspiration and be inspired.
Lesya Li
Lesya Li
  • zoe

    The point of fighting is trying to show someone you exist, have a voice, and a point and should be respected. I argue a lot with my son, whom I love dearly, but who none the less blames me for divorcing his father and for wanting a life for myself. It is exhausting, painful and bares little fruit. I wish we could sit and talk to each other.

    • I understand that when we are displeased, it is much easier to criticise and condemn than it is to try to understand the other person’s viewpoint.

      Nevertheless, as was stated above, WE MUST seek an opportunity to open the door to solutions instead of more arguments.

  • Thank you for the article, Lesya! It’s true; we tend to bring up past resentments during an argument, which makes the whole interaction more difficult. In the end, does it really matter who is or isn’t right?

    • Cloris, thank you so much for reading the article and for your thought provoking question.

      I don’t see any point in fighting for the title of “who is right”. In our eyes we are perpetually right, aren’t we?

      We understand where we are coming from better than anyone ever will attempt to understand… and based upon those experiences our thoughts blend into opinions that make a perfect sense to us. As a result, when someone tries to say that the way you see the world is crooked or incorrect (in their humble opinion) – it takes a lot of patience not to get yourself involved in a pointless argument trying to prove them wrong…

      How do you usually deal with opinionated people ;-] ?

      • Lesya, thank you for your reply. When I deal with opinionated people, I’ve learned to use a reply I learned from Wayne Dyer: “You might be right about that.” I also like to say, “Good point. Thank you.” And then, let it go!

        • Cloris, thank you so much for sharing! I’ve learned something new today. “You might be right about that.” and “Good point. Thank you.” are absolutely brilliant tools to use in order to defuse any argument, I guess. I will make sure to apply it accordingly. Thank you :-] xo

  • lzucchetti

    Excellent points, Lesya, as I travel through Europe and come across many (and I mean, MANY!) opinionated Italians who either try to convince you that their opinion is the right one or continue to argue about the differences in opinions EVEN when the time for that particular broken vase has passed. Unnerving!

    • I absolutely agree, Lauretta! It is unnerving indeed… especially when one person thinks that his opinion is superior and makes it his life’s purpose to open people’s eyes to “the truth” and “only” opinion he has for us in store to discover… 🙂 I’ve even met people who would get offended if your opinions and views were far from theirs… Childish, isn’t it?!

      Dalai Lama couldn’t put it more beautifully: “People take different roads seeking fulfilment and happiness. Just because they’re not on your road doesn’t mean they’ve gotten lost.” ;-]

No more articles

100 000+ people follow Havingtime for daily inspiration, support, and motivation.

Get your FREE weekly havingtime newsletter on how to reduce stress, boost your self-esteem, get things done and live a much fulfilling life!

100 000+ people follow Havingtime for daily inspiration, support, and motivation.

Get your FREE weekly havingtime newsletter on how to reduce stress, boost your self-esteem, get things done and live a much fulfilling life!

%d bloggers like this: