Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Communication: Learn How To Fight (reprinted)

Resolving conflict safely is key to maintaining a happy healthy relationship. It is not so easy sometimes. Your partner may not understand what you're trying to say. Your teen may not want to hear it.  And  you may not feel like having the same argument YET AGAIN!  Don't do it. Try these suggestions (adapted from www.About.com).

1.Stay Focused. Stay on the topic in the present. Don't bring up old issues or future possibilities. That will distract you from the issue at hand, and makes the discussion more stressful.

2. Listen carefully. We often think we're listening when really we're waiting for them to finish so we can say what we want to say. Try to really pay attention to what your partner (or child) is saying. Show them that you understand by repeating back to them what you heard. Have them do that too. That way you can be sure you're both on the same page.   Also don't interrupt, and don't get defensive. 

3.Try to see their point of view.  Try to see the other person's side of things, even if you feel they're wrong.  Look for what might be true in what they're saying, that can be good information for you.  They'll also be more open to understanding your side of things.

4. Respond to criticism with empathy. Criticism is hard to hear sometimes.  It's often exaggerated or colored by the other person’s emotions. Listen for the other person’s pain or fears, and respond with empathy for their feelings.  Consider their feelings in how you respond to them.

5. Own what's yours. Both participants usually share some responsibility for the conflict.  Admit when you're wrong.  It diffuses the situation, sets a good example, and shows maturity.  Often the other person will do the same.

6. Use "I" messages. Rather than blaming the other person for your feelings, begin statements with
"I", and make them about yourself and your feelings.  Rather than "You make me mad." Try "I feel frustrated when you do that." They'll feel less attacked, less defensive and more cooperative. 

7. Look for compromise. Instead of trying to "win" the argument, look for solutions that meets both parties' needs.  Healthy communication involves finding a solution that both sides can be happy with.

8. Take a time-out.  If you see the discussion turning into a heated argument, take a break to cool off.  But you have to get back to the discussion to resolve it, so you're not having the same argument repeatedly.

9. Don't give up. This one should have been first.  If you care about the person you're disagreeing with don't give up on them (nor yourself). Good communication makes better relationships, and good relationships are fun.

10. Ask for help if you need it.  If you guys aren't getting anywhere., or if you or your partner have trouble staying respectful (or have anger management issues),  see a therapist.  He can help you develop good communication skills, and help remove obstacles that you may not be aware of.

Remember: You don't have to attend every argument you're invited to.


Anonymous said...

Thank you for posting this. I really do appreciate it.

Unknown said...

Who knew there was an art to arguing. Communication is key!

Rhonda said...

But what if the other person is constantly bringing up the past .It makes no room for future to change.