Your words matter

Our relationship with other people is immensely important in defining us. Having interaction with people on a daily basis is what makes us social beings. Forming new relationships and maintaining them is an important part of human life; however, with these interactions also come disagreements.

Arguments are an inevitable part of any relationship. And while that doesn’t sound like a positive thing, if done in a healthy way, they can actually be good for your relationship.

However, if you’re having continual problems in your relationship, there might be some things you could avoid.

Here are some changes to make in your language that can make a big difference in your relationships:

Don’t apologize unecessarily

Gif showing a person saying "you don't need to apologize

It is no secret that things can get heated during an argument. Usually, when we sense tensions rising, we tend to start apologizing for things we shouldn’t apologize for. It is important to have a discussion openly and remember you deserve to have things explained to you.

Next time you find yourself in a similar situation, don’t say “Sorry for asking so many questions,” instead, say “Thank you for helping me understand.”

This does not only avoid unnecessary apologizing but also creates an environment of trust.

Be open and kind in your relationship

Gif reading "choose kindness daily"

During an argument, we appreciate it when the other person is open about their feelings and kind to us. So, it can be immensely helpful if we behave the same way towards the person we’re having an argument with. Remember to put yourself in the other person’s place and try to understand why they’re feeling what they’re feeling. While feelings can get in the way of discussions, it is important to always be kind and transparent.

In these discussions, instead of saying, “You’re being rude,” say “When you do this, it makes me feel this.”

Don’t play the blame game

Arguing alone can be super stressful and hard. It becomes a lot worse when people start blaming the other party. In situations like these, blaming the other person can not only worsen the situation but can also destroy your relationship permanently.

Don’t blame the other person for the way they feel. Instead, apologize if you have hurt their feelings. Instead of saying, “I’m sorry you feel that way,” say “I’m sorry for what I said,” or “I can see why this thing really upset you.”

Not only does it avoid unnecessary blaming, but also encourages empathy for both parties.

Say what you feel

Gif reading "say what you feel"

While there are many ways to navigate an argument and make peace afterwards, it is always best to avoid one. It saves both parties unneeded stress and worry. Transparency is always better and the best way to avoid all of that is to simply say what you feel, even when you don’t feel like it.

When your partner asks you, “How are you doing?” be honest. Instead of saying, “I’m fine,” and trying to avoid a conversation, say “I don’t feel okay right now but maybe we can talk later?”

This way, you open up the channel to talk about your feelings in a way that the other person can sympathize with.

Show empathy in your relationship

Gif showing two people hugging with graphic illustrations

We all face problems. If you’re not facing them today, you’ll face them someday. You already know what you hate to hear when you share a problem with someone. It’s “I told you so“. When your partner or friend is having problems, don’t be arrogant and instead, show some sympathy.

That could mean instead of saying, “I told you this was going to happen,” saying “We can fix this together.” This language swap will help avoid negative emotions and feelings and rather help to strengthen your relationship.

Avoid interrupting others

Gif reading "I didn't mean to interrupt"

Another way of creating empathy towards one another is to give everyone an equal chance to speak and express themselves. Even when you don’t feel like hearing the other side, be patient. You will get your turn too. Therefore, avoid cutting off the other person to express your opinion and listen with openness and kindness. The more you get to hear each other’s side of the story, the better chances there are of getting everything resolved.

Still, no matter how hard you try, arguments can and will happen. But don’t fear, IGNITE’s Dispute Resolution Clinic (DRC) is there to help you.

DRC, in partnership with the Alternative Dispute Resolution program at Humber College, offers free and confidential services to students. Whether you’re having trouble in your relationship with your family, friends, roommates or landlord, DRC has got you covered. With mediation and conflict resolution strategies, experts at our DRC guide you through hardships you may be facing.

DRC is currently offering virtual meetings on Mondays, Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Fridays. Book your appointment now!

Arguments and misunderstandings can take a toll on your mental health, but with the DRC you learn skills that will help you for a long time to come.

Looking for more on-campus services? Here are five that you can take advantage of

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