Arguments happen. They’re a totally normal part of any type of relationship. The problem with arguments is when they start to get emotional and personal. Anger is a natural emotion but when we start reacting from our emotions and not from a state of logic, that’s when feelings start to get hurt. It’s also when people start to feel like they’re not being heard. If you struggle with feeling like your arguments are productive, here are 4 steps to de-escalating an argument.
Do Something Different
So they’re not listening when you’re yelling at them? Maybe… try something different? Try writing them an email, a letter, or even a song if you’re feeling silly. Cook a nice, relaxing dinner and talk about the issue while you two are both in a different state of mind. Coming up with new ways to discuss your argument puts you and them in a different frame of mind. One in which you’ll both be more open and receptive to listening and understanding.
Don’t Stoop to Their Level
It’s hard to do in the moment but avoid stooping low and resorting to name calling or character bashing. Try to avoid any “knee-jerk” reactions. Decide beforehand that you are not going to stoop to a level that hurts the other person.
Take a Big Deep Breath
Often times when we’re so caught up in an argument we forget to breathe. If you feel yourself starting to get worked up, go ahead and take a big deep breath. Deep breathing helps to pull you back into your body and keeps you centered. This will help you to avoid those “knee-jerk” reactions that cause you to do or say things you don’t actually mean.
There’s nothing wrong with saying, “hey this is getting heated, can we take 5?” and walking away from the argument. Taking a timeout isn’t passive aggressive or childish. Sometimes you need adequate time to collect your thoughts and form an argument that is productive. You can always come to an unfinished argument when your head is in a better space.
The art of arguing is not something many people think about. For many people, arguing is about reacting and not necessarily about resolving. Whether you’re arguing with your partner, a business partner, or a friend, learning how to argue productively can dramatically help improve your relationships. If you’re struggling with your anger management or how to argue productively, give us a call today to schedule an appointment. Our team of highly skilled counselors can help you develop the skills to manage your anger and argue effectively.