Updated: Aug 30, 2022
Written by Tiahna Osorio
Everyone gets into arguments, all humans no matter how big or small are emotional creatures. However, arguments shouldn’t get out of control. There are in fact ways to handle conflict maturely, that may very well save relationships of any kind from ending on a sour note. According to California Physics they include, “start and finish on a positive note”, “Use ‘I’, not ‘you'’”, “Listen”, “Respect”, “Your goal is not to win, it’s compromise”, “stay on topic”, and “ask questions”.
To begin, “start and finish on a positive note”. People tend to get defensive when they’re upset after a long day, sleepy, or hungry. It’s best to bring up sensitive issues during times where there is no tension. It can also be recommended that you ask the other person beforehand if they’d be willing to discuss an issue. People who care about the initiator will want to discuss to better themselves and the relationship, but it can help to just gauge the mood or if you’re nervous about confrontation.
Second of all, “Use ‘I’, not ‘you’” means to phrase statements in a non accusatory way. Don’t try to claim someone feels a certain way because they might not, and this might just make them become defensive and more closed off about the subject. Rather than “you” statements use “I” statements. It helps get the point across better, and can produce a time where the other party will be able to understand that even if they don’t mean to, they are hurting the initiator.
In addition to this, listening and respecting someone is something that should be applied. Even in everyday conversations listening and respecting others can strengthen relationships. Arguments don’t have special rules that claim just because there is conflict you can now treat someone like they’re worthless.
Furthermore, “Your goal is not to win, it’s compromise” is one of the most important rules of arguing. The intiater and other party shouldn’t be trying to win an argument, they should be trying to come to a healthy resolution to an issue. If either is trying to “win” it’s best to exit the situation and cool off. It’s not losing to walk away and take time to collect yourself.
Another point is “stay on topic”. Talking to someone about an issue shouldn’t be venting about every issue you’ve ever had with them. It should be about a specific thing that needs to change. If more change is needed then tackle that slowly or in a way where both parties are aware beforehand that this is a conversation about multiple behaviors. Don’t randomly start berating someone because they’ll just become offensive, hurt, and distant.
Finally, “ask questions”. This is straight to the point. If someone has an issue and is trying to express it, and it’s difficult to understand why this might hurt them, or what behavior they are talking about, or anything at all, ask for clarification. They will gladly give it, and it just makes things easier. Misunderstandings are the poison of relationships.
In conclusion, arguments happen, but there are ways to ensure that issues are dealt with without causing further conflict or out of control conversations.