Stop Fighting - 6 Easy Steps to Having 50%-90% Fewer Arguments!
1. Remember that everyone lives in a different world (read more here). Don't fall into the trap of assuming the other party understands and believes the same things you do, even if you have spent 20+ years together. Stop fighting by no longer assuming others should understand and agree with you. They all live in a different world!
2. You Can't Change Anyone Else. Your only goal should be to learn what you can change about yourself. Stop trying to change others! While you are accusing others of not being open minded, you are guilty of only wanting what you want. Until you understand this truth, your efforts to try to change others will frequently result in fights. Stop fighting by no longer attempting to change others.
3. Ask questions rather than make statements.
- Statements are like walls you build around yourself, trapping you in and requiring you defend your position. Questions simply open up and invite discussion.
- Statements, especially during a time of high emotions, can easily be misunderstood, be interpreted as offensive, and “add fuel to the fire”. Sincere questions can provide a platform for seeking the truth, open discussion, and are dramatically less likely to cause offense.
- Stop fighting by asking questions rather than making statements. This is VERY powerful. Try it!
Statement Vs. Question Examples
Statement: Person A: “You did that on purpose!” Person B becomes defensive and argues “no I did not!” and then most likely comes back with a counter attack. You have attempted to attach a fault to their ego which they will defend at all cost.
Instead, turn it into a Question: Person A: “Did you do that on purpose?” Person B has a chance to explain their thoughts or actions in a much more constructive way. Can you feel the difference? Less attack, no blame, an invitation for a discussion.
Statement: Person A: “You aren't listening to me!” Person B fights back with an attack “Neither are you!” or gets combative “say something worth listening to and I might”. Blame, accusation, implied failure all contribute to Person B fighting back, getting angry, and round up defenses to support the attack on their ego.
Instead, turn it into a Question: Person A: “Are you listening to me?” Person B confesses “not really, say it again” or is able to make a correction “now I am”. Even a more blunt answer (and honest) of "no I am not" invites another question of "Do you want to discuss this?"
4. Take a time-out. Often the sudden and unexpected arguments surprise you and catch you unprepared, quickly escalating out of control. When you feel your negative emotions rising, catch them as soon as possible and if the conversation is quickly moving into destructive areas, politely, sincerely, and without intent for manipulation, ask for some time to consider their point of view and think about the matter. Take a 10 minute walk and bring your thoughts together for a more constructive resumption of the discussion. (perhaps with a list of constructive questions to guide a meaningful discussion, as mentioned above.) Stop fighting by temporarily removing yourself from the physical location of the discussion. (While driving, please stop the car before leaving.)
5. Write a letter. Sometimes discussions cause you so much emotion, that it is difficult to be constructive and avoid argument. Since it takes 2 to argue, a letter is a one sided discussion, enabling you to express your feelings without any chance of being interrupted, having to defend yourself, or heated response while you are trying to focus on conveying your thoughts and feelings. Stop fighting by having a one sided conversation through a letter.
6. Understand Their Intentions. Don't force a discussion. If the other person is determined to be angry or non-constructive, there is no reason to attempt to communicate with them. Wait until both of you are open to discussing the matter. It takes two or more people to communicate so wait until all involved want to have a constructive discussion. Stop fighting by not forcing a discussion until everyone is ready.
Stop fighting with kids. Stop fighting with your spouse. Stop fighting at work. Stop fighting at family gatherings.
How will this help you? Comment below...