It’s hard to know how to argue. We learn from our parents, and if that tells you anything like most of us, it’s a skill that requires learning. If you follow these basics I promise you that communication becomes easier. I’m talking about how to talk not solving the issue itself.
1. No Name Calling: Do I need to list these? Nah
2. No Interrupting: Let the other person finish. Interruption when a person is trying to share their view STOPS the process and doesn’t allow the other person to be heard. Bite your lip. If you are talking or thinking about what to say next, you are not listening.
3. No Character Assassination: These are allegations that the person you are fighting with might be a bad or unpopular member of his family, have a bad relationship with his or her friends, co-workers or children or is not respected by his colleagues. Or that he/she had issues with his or her X that was similar. Not nice, not needed.
4. No Physical Violence: No hitting, throwing of objects, punching, scratching, spitting, you get it.
5. No Leaving the Room: Unless you are going to give yourself a time out to cool off, leaving in the middle of an argument is a power move and avoidance. It makes the other person feel unimportant, disrespected, and cut off. If you feel things are not getting anywhere and escalating, tell the person you’re arguing with that you need time to cool off AND (this is key) TELL THEM WHEN YOU WILL RETURN TO FINISH THE DISCUSSION AND WHEN It should be within 24 hours at the latest. An hour or two would be best. Or if you’re really good 10 minutes should do. Otherwise the topic never gets fully discussed and goes subterranean. Only to come up another time, most likely in the middle of your next fight
6. No Switching: This occurs a lot when I see couples and it sounds like this:
Person A ” When you leave stuff on the floor in the bedroom, it makes me feel irritated. I have asked you to work on this and you keep doing it! ”
Person B “OMG are you kidding me? You leave your dishes everywhere in the house, your one to talk”.
Switching STOPS the process and will easily send you both onto another million tangents that you both are angry about. Lots of couples do this. If you want to bring up an issue bring it up SEPARATELY or at another time. Not this time.
7. No Abusive Language: In other words no cuss words or vulgarity. It’s easy to say things like this when we are angry. The only thing this does is give us release but in doing so, it shows disrespect toward the other person and STOPS the process. Use words that mean the same thing. I know it’s hard to find another work for “fuck!” (My personal favorite), there are a zillion other things you can say when things are heated.