Conflict isn’t always a sign a relationship is doomed. In fact, arguments can be an opportunity to increase understanding and connection in a relationship – as long as they’re handled respectfully.
While it's okay to disagree sometimes, arguments can be tricky, and it's important to handle them in a respectful and healthy way.
Here are five things to avoid when arguing with your partner, friend, or loved one.
1. Avoid speaking out of anger
When you're upset, it's easy to let your emotions spill over and say or do things you might regret later. But allowing anger to get the better of you can make the situation worse and even hurt your relationship in the long-term.
Before you react, take a deep breath, and try to stay calm. Remember, it's essential to treat your partner with kindness and respect, even when you disagree.
If you feel like your emotions are too overwhelming, consider taking a short break and returning to the discussion when you're both calmer.
2. Avoid name-calling
It’s important to be respectful and avoid using hurtful language. Name-calling, swearing, and insults can lead to hurt feelings and cause lasting damage to your relationship. Instead, focus on explaining your feelings and thoughts calmly, without resorting to hurtful words.
3. Avoid interrupting
Listening is crucial in any argument. Interrupting your partner while they're talking can make them feel like you don't care about their thoughts or feelings.
You can show respect by allowing a 50/50 conversation where both people get to express how they feel.
Let them finish what they have to say before sharing your perspective and be sure to ask questions to make sure you’ve understood them correctly. This way, you both get the chance to express yourselves fully, and in time, you’ll grow to understand each other better.
4. Avoid playing the blame game
Arguments can quickly turn into a game of pointing fingers. Instead of blaming your partner, try to take responsibility for your own actions and feelings. You can do this by using ‘I feel’ statements instead of ‘you are’ statements.
When you share your feelings without blaming, your partner is more likely to understand where you're coming from and be willing to work together to find a solution.
5. Avoid yelling or raising your voice
Raising your voice during an argument can make your partner feel attacked or scared. Yelling only adds more tension and may lead to one or both of you ‘shutting down’ and not being able to continue the conversation.
If you find yourself getting louder, take a moment to pause and lower your voice. Speak in a calm and clear manner so that your partner can hear your point of view without feeling overwhelmed. This will allow you to continue to work through the issue respectfully and come to a solution together.
Remember, arguing is a normal part of any relationship, but it's important to handle disagreements with care and respect. By avoiding getting too angry, name-calling, interrupting, playing the blame game, and yelling, you can create a safe space for healthy, respectful communication with your partner.
Understanding each other's perspectives and feelings can help strengthen your relationship and bring you closer together.
If you could use some help navigating conflict in your closest relationships, speaking to a professional counsellor could help.
Call 1300 364 277 to make an appointment or to learn more about our counselling services, including relationship counselling.
We look at how often couples fight in a healthy relationship in this blog post.