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How To Stop Arguing And Start Communicating

July 1, 2015

Relationships are never feud-resistant. Whether you are arguing with your significant other, coworkers, family members, or friends, arguments are inevitable. Arguments, especially those that are frequent, can take a huge toll on your emotional and physical health. Mean words can hurt feelings and emotional well-being while hormone surges during arguments can deplete energy levels. Arguments can cause emotions to rise and anger to fly, but they don’t have to be destructive. The three tips below will help you to approach arguments so as to avoid relationship destruction.

  1. Name the issue: During arguments, it’s easy to engage in verbal terrorism – shouting obscenities, blaming, criticizing, demeaning, and judging. These behaviors are a reactive state where thoughts are not being processed rationally. As a result, communication breaks down completely and arguments can become more heated and exhausting, which accomplishes little more than hurting both parties involved. When screaming and name calling start to occur, stop the interaction and name what you are arguing about: is it love, sex, money? Naming the issue focuses the conversation on the topic at hand and de-escalates the negative behaviors detailed above.
  2. Practice mindful listening: Next, one person should talk while the other listens. The listener cannot speak and should focus on listening very carefully to the person speaking, while the speaker should focus on avoiding hurtful, blaming, or critical comments. The speaker should also focus on explaining clearly exactly how they feel. Doing this eliminates the white noise created by screaming matches where anger and heated emotions begin to confuse the topic at hand. Both people in these scenarios will fail to hear what the other is saying and go into defensive mode. Mindful listening allows you to rationally process the information you are hearing.
  3. Practice mindful speaking: After one person speaks, the listener repeats what they heard using their own words. This establishes a foundation of understanding between both people. Each person should then offer a solution to address the concerns the speaker highlighted, and then make any specific requests for similar accommodations. It might look something like this:

“I understand what you’re saying is ____, and I will do this to improve the situation. In return, I request that you ____.

Following these steps will help both parties to practice compassion and kindness, which will help to make your conflicts and conversations productive, caring, and effective. ReachOut.com has some helpful tips on resolving arguments and improving relationships. Prevail Health also has a great online mental health program that can help you deal with any anger, sadness, or anxiety you may be experiencing. Visit iPrevail.com for more information.

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