The Art of Arguing
I might not be the best person to give advice on this topic or maybe I am, depending on your point of view. It’s been nearly 3 years since I’ve genuinely spoken to my paternal grandmother. I couldn’t tell you what the argument was about but it ended with me deciding to “set boundaries”. Everyone in my family told me to apologize in order to keep the peace. Which only made the situation worse, I felt isolated and withdrew. Weekly, check-in phone calls turned into dreaded conversations that always awkwardly ended with, “Have you spoken to your grandmother yet? She’s still upset.
Some do it for the thrill but others, like me, hate confrontation. When you’re in the midst of a heated argument, common sense and logic can easily be overshadowed by the red mist of anger. In hindsight, the distance between us could have been avoided and neither one of us right. We should have talked and communicated better instead of cutting each other out. The years have since passed and we’ve both missed out on a lot but we’re slowly letting our guards down to rebuild a positive relationship. If one lesson has emerged, it’s learning how to argue without ruining relationships with the people you love.
Yes, You’re Upset but No Cheap Digs
When you’re close with someone rather a friend, family or lover we open ourselves to vulnerability and expect for certain confidences to be held. Say the right words and you could immediately demolish the trust they’ve had in you. Being on the defense is never fun but screaming insults and past faults won’t help you win. In fact, it’ll only make the argument more strained and the other person more angered.
There comes a point where relationships have the ability to turn toxic and taking cheap digs is a good first start. We all know that words can hurt and name calling is a form of verbal abuse. You shouldn’t accept that behavior from anyone else… and they shouldn’t accept it from you.
Be Mindful & Considerate of Each Others Opinions
When you’re arguing, tunnel vision takes over and winning is all that matters. It can be hard to see and understand the other person’s perspective. Everyone is focused on being the one who is right but nobody is truly listening to the other. If defending your position overshadows the ability to be open and receptive then you lose too. Learning how to not only acknowledge but understand someone else’s viewpoint in an argument is extremely important.
Showing genuine empathy allows us to appreciate their feelings without dismissing our own. Being aware of another’s needs and emotions can be impactful to establishing a deeper sense of connection.
You’re an Adult, so Argue Like One
Use your words.
There’s a reason toddlers can get away with throwing tantrums…because they don’t understand how to handle their anger and frustrations. Unfortunately, you’re not a child and it’s unacceptable to act like one. Yelling, screaming, hitting and throwing things is not how any adult should handle a situation.
If anger management is an issue then seeking outside help may be a good solution. Conflict therapy is an approach for individuals and groups to find better ways of communicating. Sometimes it helps to have an unbiased mediator, someone who wants to see all parties leave happy. And most importantly it allows groups to communicate through their current situations and develop better skills for future conflicts.
Walk Away and Calm the F*%K Down
Now, I understand that there’s debate about how rude and unproductive walking away in an argument is BUT neither is us going in circles. When it becomes overly frustrating and emotional it’s ok to take a step back and ask for personal space. It doesn’t mean that you’re ill-equipped to handle conflict but that you recognize your own limits in the situation.
However, after you’ve had the time to calm down the argument still needs to be resolved. So ignoring what happened or expecting the other person to “drop it” is not ok. During your personal space, think about the other person’s opinions or needs. Once the argument has de-escalated then calmly and rationally bring the topic up. Take turns talking and listen to what they are saying. You may still disagree but at least they’ll know that you’ve acknowledged their feelings and a compromise can be made.
How do you argue? Comment below to share how you get your points across.
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