Every once in a while we can find ourselves in a bad situation that needs to be fixed. But the most frustrating thing out of that is not knowing what to do, what to say and how to react adequately. I’m sure that everyone of us at some point was involved in a raging argument, we all wished we avoided, but yet somehow ended up right in the middle of that battle where neither of you would back down. All has been tried as a weapon. A relentless logic and some backup facts, manipulations with tears and attacks. Your voices grew louder and louder, as if that ever helps to prove any point… And the rising blood pressure out of frustration and anger becomes unstoppable… Are you familiar with any of that? Let’s break it down.
How to Resolve an Argument
Take The Edge Off
The very first thing you need to do is to hit an “off” switch and cool down. It’s a fact that a raging mind is simply incapable of adequate thinking that is why it needs to be calmed. It’s better to pause and prevent yourself from saying something you might regret in a short while. Take half an hour to cool off. Go for a walk to clear up your head. Try to breathe deeply. You can talk to the trees in park, or your dog… Let them know all your frustration and anger and the whole bundle of emotions that are driving you crazy at the moment. Share this stream and let it flow. You will feel better the second you SHARE.
What can happen if you don’t cool off?
The argument itself can become even worse. You both need to calm down and it’s important for both parties to make sense in a constructive conversation. That person, you are having the situation with right now doesn’t need to hear all of your thoughts just yet with that high concentration of irrational emotions. No need to hold those emotions either. Think about how you would construct the conversation that follows word by word to explain your emotions. What needs to be put the spotlight on? No blame game will ever get you anywhere. Think about the constructive part of the conversation.
Switching On Listening Mode
Now it is time to listen what the other person has to say. No one says you have to agree with all of that. All you need to do is listen. And when I say LISTEN, I really mean to be present and HEAR instead of figuring out how to shout out YOUR opinions faster than your opponent does. Be patient. Listen up closely and make some mind notes on the things that should be noted as important. Millions of arguments becoming more and more distressing and don’t move in any progressive way because of the impatience of the opponents to hear each other out. Only by listening and acknowledging the other person’s side you are closer to solving the dilemma between you two.
So Did You Get Anything RIGHT Out Of The Opponent’s Side?
Collect everything valuable you noted what’s been said by the opponent and make sure you understand everything correctly. “Let’s make sure I get it right… You are saying that…?” So now by refraining yourself from declaring which side is right, you are establishing a basic bridge of understanding with the opponent by diminishing the urge to force the verdict beforehand. This is how the opportunity to mend a dispute comes along and the other person sees that you are actually trying to hear him out and understand.
Did He Get Your Side Correctly?
You think you have the right meaning of the opinion in your head, but the recipient hears something else. Make sure he gets you right. Calmly request a summary from your opponent making sure he heard you and understood everything the way it should be. Take a moment and try to make some notes on the things you BOTH agree on. Let’s take as an example the dirty dishes dispute or who should take the garbage out on Tuesday. The common ground in this situation is that you BOTH want your house to be clean and tidy, isn’t it?
So What EXACTLY Went Wrong In the First Place?
Now that you have some common ground and a basic understanding of the situation, take some time to identify what the argument really was about? So many disputes are pointless simply because both sides are like jugglers trying to pinpoint millions of things that they dislike without stating the ONE thing they are really distressed about. You might even discover that there was no actual basis for the argument in the first place!
What are The Options?
Let’s agree that various arguments are handled differently. And sometimes all we need is to get some examples and be inspired in order to get a little bit of an insight how to handle things more efficiently. I cannot possibly name all of them, but a few examples of how matters are handled are a must.
After all the discussions are done and the conversation is now under a constructive way, it is time to come up with a selection of things to be done in order for the whole argument come to past.
1. Divide and rule
Let’s imagine that whole thing was about whose turn it was to pick up the kids from school, as an example. Then you need to divide some work between you in the household and instead of arguments – discussions and compromises should be done.
2. Choosing Battles Wisely
If the matter is about which colour to pick to paint the garden fence, it is a good idea to do some brainstorming beforehand. Brainstorm includes hearing all ideas and approaches, put them on the list, then discussing them one by one. If you both cannot agree on a certain colour of the fence, pick the colour or a derivative from it that you both would enjoy. And if you see that the whole matter is not even worth fighting over – just let it slide. Be wiser. Give a person a chance to feel special, that she or he did something that matters to them, like picking the colour of the garden fence. In other words, choose your battles wisely. Sometimes a tranquil peace is much better than being right or getting your way.
3. Putting “I Told You So” away
If you have disagreement about a plan someone wants to pursue and you think that it would be a disaster and utter failure, don’t tell them later “I told you so” and be all smug about yourself. The thing is that person just learned an invaluable lesson and any failure is just as important in life as success. This is their vital life experience and there’s no room for “I told you so” attitude because you would now just look smug for telling someone not to learn an important skill in their life.
4. Don’t try to change someone’s beliefs
If the whole fuss is about proving your TRUTH (whether God exists, the aliens are still out there etc.) and your values and beliefs, it would probably be a good idea to agree for both parties to just let the disagreement go unresolved and “agree to disagree”. But in any case, what both of you need to remember is to stay respectful to other people’s beliefs. After all, it’s a matter of private life and every person is free to believe whatever he/she is comfortable with. Opinions should never be seen as facts. And stop worrying about what people may think about you and your beliefs.
It’s hard to imagine the world without arguments. We are all different and we all want to be heard about our opinions, views and solid points of our values and beliefs. But what I’m certain about is that it is up to us to make any argument constrictive and efficient for both parties. Our opinions are easily changed through a simple observation and faster than during an argument. Be patient. Listen. Observe.