Arguing vs. Fighting: A Guide to (Actual) Problem Solving
Believe it or not, there is a big difference between an argument and a fight. If you get people together, disagreements are bound to happen. There is always opportunity for miscommunication, confusion, and differing beliefs. Arguing can actually be healthy and a necessary part of any relationship, because it allows you to build more trust, find a solution, and learn how to support and love someone (and yourself) in relationships. However, arguments can easily turn into fights if you are not careful. Use these steps to prevent fighting and embrace a solution.
Sit Down and Engage Sometimes, the hardest part of having a healthy argument is actually sitting down and having it. It can be scary to confront someone and let them know your truth. And if you put it off, it can come off as passive aggressive and spiral into a blowout fight. Make the time to have this talk and let the other person know what it is about so that they can process it as well.
Focus on the Solution Let go of the idea that someone is going to “win.” Focus on what is right, not who is right. Most of the time people do things that hurt you because they are unaware. You can’t expect anyone to know what is best for you, so let them know. Use your own perspective and how things make you feel, instead of using words that may make them feel attacked and put them on the defense.
Keep The Respect Avoid raised voices, name calling, eye rolling, sarcasm, and anything else you might want to pull out when you hear what you don’t want to hear. If you want respect, you have to give it. Keep your cool by breathing, listening, and asking questions over shouting perspectives.
Listen Fully As hard as it is, listen without interruption. You may hear something that you want to immediately correct, but hold off – let the other person feel heard and understood, just as you would want to. Don’t cut people off, and be careful not to twist their words to fit your own perspective.
Let Go of the Blame Game It can be hard to not blame someone for making you feel bad. At the end of the day, you are responsible for your own feelings. Try to see where they are coming from more than telling them they are the source of your discomfort. Let them know what their actions make you feel, and clue them into your mindset. You’ll be surprised at how quickly things can change when someone is aware of it!
Embrace Trust It is amazing how quickly insecurities can come out during a fight, and when that happens, the easiest thing for your mind to do is jump to conclusions that validate your insecurities. Remember that the person you are choosing to engage with should be trusted. Give them the benefit of the doubt and truly figure out where they are coming from.
When tension arises, so do our defenses. Take a deep breath and prepare to get to know the other person better, to get to know yourself better, and to establish a deep, meaningful connection. This is a vulnerable and powerful process that will serve you for the rest of your life. Remember – you got this.