We have all been there, an argument with our spouse or someone we care about. If you haven’t ever had an argument with someone (or think you haven’t) you may have other issues…Fighting is never fun, but it is sometimes a necessary part of any relationship and can be useful to resolve a conflict and deepen the relationship. The key to fighting is to do it with fairness. Here are some tips to help you resolve the conflict. (These are not to be used with the sinister person in the alley…in that case; grab your mace and run like the wind!)
- Wait until they are asleep and pluck out all their eyebrows or write the word “Jerk” in Sharpie on their forehead…ok not really, but sometimes the thought of that makes us feel better, right?
- Go To Time Out – When tempers are high, this is the time that saying things that we don’t mean just spill right out. While in anger mode; it may seem like a good idea to bring up that present you never liked or someone’s love handles but it is just a defense mechanism in response to feeling “attacked” Take yourself to time-out until the anger reaction subsides. On the same note, don’t wait too long to address the issues. “Time heals all wounds” is not the operative phrase here. Often time causes the anger to just continue to burn and flare up.
- Say Exactly What Is Making You Angry – If The Man doesn’t take out the trash when you ask or Mom never tells you she appreciates the casserole that you bring to every dinner when you have worked your heart out. Tell them that. They may have no idea that those actions upset you. In fact, it could be just a misunderstanding and easily resolved without going to the “Fight” level.
- Stick To The Subject – If the whole fight is about your best friend saying something that hurt your feelings at the weekly playgroup, there is no reason to bring up the fact that she ruined your birthday 6 years ago with the karaoke routine on the table top. Especially if you had already resolved that karaoke issue. Bringing up past hurts only add fuel to the fire and is not going to solve anything. By bringing it up, you often are putting the other person immediately in the defensive mode and feeling like you never really forgave them. Stay on the topic that started the fight and resolve one issue at a time.
- Listen & Acknowledge – Just because you don’t think that you putting on the toilet paper upside down is a big deal, it may bother your spouse. When confronted with the tissue issue, don’t say things like: “What’s the big deal” or “Get over it”. Listen to what the other person says and acknowledge it by asking “Why does this bother you?” or “How would you like me to do it” Chances are there is an easy solution here and a fight can be avoided all together.
- Lose The Mind Reader Routine – Even if you have known your friend for 25 years and know what music they love, their favorite color and food they hate, don’t assume you can read their mind or know their feelings. Feelings and thoughts change as often as the latest woman’s fashion.
- Walk In Their Shoes – By trying to see things the way that your spouse sees them, you are validating and acknowledging their viewpoint. Different past experiences and life choices cause each person to feel differently and react differently to a situation. You don’t have to agree with them, but do acknowledge they have the right to feel differently than you do.
- Solve & Forgive As A Team – Discuss together ways to solve this problem and ways to prevent it in the future. If that little cutting comment that your friend made in playgroup hurt your feelings. Agree together that you will not hurt each other in front of other people, if there is a problem you will solve it together when nobody else is around. Last step, forgive. Whether forgiveness is asked for or not, forgive the person that you love and know that it is an important step in healing. If someone asks you for forgiveness, don’t try to judge their sincerity or motives, give forgiveness unconditionally.
- If all else fails…get out the tweezers and the Sharpie. (I kid…I kid!)