4 steps to having better arguments

Wow, hello 2017! It feels so good to be back. I won’t spend too much time going into the excuses behind my absence. I’ll simply promise to be more consistent.

Okay, so to get started… personally, I loathe confrontation. It’s also funny I say this because I also never back down from a good fight. If someone makes me reach the point of anger well, then, good luck to them. So, a few weeks ago, I reached that point. I argued with someone. And I hated it. It was the feeling of losing control over my temper that I despised the most. That feeling where your brain wants to translate your emotions in a way the other party can understand, and instead your mouths tear each-other down with your words.

This is the wrong way to argue.

Believe it or not, that encounter a few weeks ago left me feeling like maybe there could be a better way to have confrontations. Maybe arguments were a necessary learning process, and there could be a way to have organised, strategic and fruitful arguments. A few of my ideas how include:

  1. Don’t back away from them

If you’ve made it to the point where you’re about to have an argument, congratulations! This means that you care.

I cannot think of a single time that I had an argument with someone that I did not care about, over something I didn’t care about. The most frustrating part of arguing is feeling so passionately about something and having someone not understand it.

Backing away from these times denies the other person the full understanding of why you care. If you simply shrug it off, you’re hiding from them a part of yourself that if they got to understand better, could help them know you better.

Backing away from these times denies the other person the full 
understanding of why you care.
  1. Set out your grievances and stick by them

Often, arguments end up being messy for no reason because both parties aren’t able to settle on why they’re upset.

I hate it when you leave the place messy. And last week you said you didn’t like the way my jeans fit. Yeah, well I never liked your sister anyway!

If you have negative feelings brewing, it’s so easy for you to allow a little issue to be the scapegoat for your real feelings. That’s why it’s so important to be honest with the people you care about. If you really feel like something they’ve done has upset or offended you, maybe think about how you could sum it up in a few words and stick one issue at a time. Bringing up random hurtful comments can aggravate the situation and lead to huge misunderstandings that make for ‘bad’ arguments.

  1. Listen and Repeat

I believe that good arguments can take place with no anger or shouting. I’m crazy right? But I genuinely sense that peaceful arguments can exist. Even people who have known each-other for a lifetime will have disagreements. Use this time to learn more about the other person; what is it that they’re really trying to tell you?

How about the next time you’re having an issue with someone, repeat the exact words they’re using back to them before you say how you feel. This lets them know that you’re paying attention and that you understand why they’re upset.

So you’re saying that you don’t like it when the place is always messy? I clean up twice a week and I don’t think the place looks so bad at all.

Try asking questions like: what behaviours are really upsetting you? What could I do differently? What would you say I’m doing well?

You’ll probably find that a process like this diffuses the situation quickly, and allows the other party to stay focused on the core issue, and not get caught up in the whole name-calling and angry stuff.

Try asking questions like: what behaviours are really upsetting you? 
What could I do differently? What would you say I’m doing well?
  1. Let go and Grow

After your ‘good’ argument ends, make sure you’re able to take something away from the experience. There’s no point simply making up and moving on without recognising the negative behaviour that got you in that position. Good arguments are not about guilt, so remove that element of it from the discussion. Rather than just apologising, how about saying, ‘I heard you say that you don’t like me leaving our bedroom messy and I’ll try and take of it on a daily basis’.

You shouldn’t have to feel guilty for not knowing what someone would want (if you genuinely didn’t know). Now that you’ve found out, show them that you’ve taken something away from this that you’ll do differently. Even if you’re the aggrieved party, how about telling this person something like ‘Next time, I’ll open up to telling you that I’m upset in new ways’.

There can be enough love to fill an ocean and there will still be disagreements and misunderstandings.

Embracing them with respect for one-another can challenge negative behaviour and encourage a more loving, and open environment to air disputes.

Try it out and let me know!

Love always,
GtfB xo
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