Regardless of what you’ve been told growing up or what you’ve seen in movies, arguing doesn’t always have to be a bad thing. In fact, arguing can be healthy — if it’s done constructively.
Arguing can help prevent resentment, it can help you learn more about the other person and it can help you to build stronger relationships. But, it’s important to know how to argue without letting your emotions take over. You never want to argue from a place of hatred and anger or you’ll end up doing more damage.
Learn these simple steps now, so that your next argument can be a constructive one.
Seems pretty simple, right? It is, but it can also easily be overlooked.
If you sense an argument brewing — or one has already started — before you respond take a second to take a deep breath. A deep breath can actually do wonders for your mental state and really help you with step number two.
This is probably the hardest step, but if you did step one, then this will already be a little easier.
During the heat of an argument, it’s easy to let yourself become frustrated, angry and flustered — these emotions are normal. However, it’s important to know how to control them and how to overcome them during these tense moments. You have to focus and sometimes even force yourself to stay calm.
Staying calm is your best chance of communicating your side of the problem; the person you’re speaking to will be more receptive if you’re speaking calmly — louder isn’t always better.
I’m sure you’ve heard it before, but think before you speak. You really have to think about what you want to say, figure out the root of the argument and how you can resolve it.
Think about what you need from the other person and also take some time to self-reflect. Do this before and after you bring up an issue and come back to the issue afterward if it’s still not resolved.
Then, take a few seconds during the discussion to carefully choose what you are going to say. Those few seconds will make a big difference. If we speak in the heat of the moment, we are likely to say something we will regret and that is far from constructive.
Trust me, listening is half the battle.
In the midst of a heated discussion, you’re probably only concerned with getting your point across, but if you don’t listen to the other person you are likely going to end up talking in circles and not resolving the root of the issue.
Truly listening to what the other person has to say, even when they say something you disagree with, will help you see the situation more clearly and help make the argument more constructive. Don’t interrupt. Just listen and, hopefully, that will also encourage them to pay you the same courtesy.
Write it down
This step is optional. It’s mostly there to help you if you feel like you’ve been bottling up your problems and not discussing with the people who might be playing a role in the way you’re feeling.
If you’re scared of confrontation or just don’t know how to approach the subject, writing down your feelings and the key points you want to bring up can really help you prepare. This could also help prevent an argument and instead, be the start of a healthy discussion.
Maybe you’ve already tried these steps or maybe you’re faced with one particular issue that you don’t know how to tackle — that’s okay.
We can’t fix all our problems ourselves and reaching out is another great step you can take. Involving a third-party can help you see the situation more objectively and give you pointers for how to handle the issue. Check out IGNITE’s Dispute Resolution clinic when you’re faced with a conflict and you don’t know where to start.
It’s 100% free and 100% confidential. You don’t have to do it alone, we have your back.
Book your appointment today!
There you have it, all the steps you need to deal with your next argument — because let’s face it, they’re bound to come up. It’s normal to disagree with people and to argue, but let’s be constructive!
Arguing constructively can also improve your relationships. Check out why maintaining healthy relationships in our work, school and social lives is so important.