We hope you manage to survive these difficult times without any major arguments, but sadly the fact is that the more time we spend together breathing down each other’s necks, the more we seem to antagonise each other. It’s therefore quite possible that you will find yourselves fighting more at the moment than you normally would, and even arguing is a skill that has to be learned. We know how to do it right, so you can make up again quickly after a fight!
Rules for arguing well
It’s natural for emotions to run high when we fight, so following any kind of rules on how to argue correctly is easier said than done. Even so, you should still try to keep the following points in mind:
- Remember to mention the positives too: It is always important not to focus on the negatives right from the start. It can be helpful to talk about something you like in the other person first and only then move on to the ‘but’.
- Facts are the key to arguing properly: If there’s something about your partner that’s really getting on your nerves, then think carefully about how you can explain it, preferably using examples. Of course, this is only possible if you have the chance to think about how to explain the issue to your partner beforehand. But if you do end up getting into the occasional argument, again it is important to talk only about facts and not just make unfounded accusations.
- It’s not just about you: If you want things to change, don’t forget your partner in all this. Ask him or her what they need or have in mind when it comes to a particular issue. This will often help you find a compromise that both of you can be happy with.
- Let your partner finish: The problem with arguments is that people often don’t let their partner finish speaking because they are so determined to put their point across. But disagreements turn out much better when everyone can express their own views. So you need to listen as well and not just dish it out!
- Avoid generalisations and sweeping statements: ‘You never do this’ or ‘You always do that’ – we like to say things like this to exaggerate what bothers us about the other person and make our point particularly clear. Yet this is something you should really avoid. For one thing, it’s usually not true and is just something you say in the heat of the moment. Secondly, talking like this will only make the situation worse and your partner will feel even more under attack.
- Where and when you do it is crucial for arguing well: The worst times to argue are probably as you’re heading out the door or just about to go to work. It is much better to postpone a discussion until there is plenty of time to discuss any issues.
- Arguing properly – always just the two of you: You should never have an argument in other people’s company. If you want to talk as a couple, then please do it in private. There’s nothing worse than a couple fighting in public. Even if you have children, you should only ever argue alone. They shouldn’t have to witness a potentially escalating argument between mum and dad either.
- Avoid ‘you’ statements: The sentences you choose shouldn’t always begin with ‘you’. These are usually accusations and will not go down well with the other person. It’s better to use ‘I’ sentences instead, putting your own motives and needs front and centre.
- Put yourself in your partner’s shoes: Even if it’s difficult, it’s important to get to know and understand your partner’s viewpoint. Try to empathise with the other person as much as possible.
- What is the real reason for the argument? Is it really about all those things you want to hurl at your partner or do you just need to unload after a stressful day and it’s actually about something completely different? You should never just use your partner to let off steam.
- Don’t dredge up old arguments: It can be tempting to bring up past disagreements when you’re arguing, but that doesn’t help at all and will only make the current row worse. So focus on the issues at hand now and discuss these.
- Steer clear of making comparisons with other family members: ‘You’re just like your mother/father’ – it’s a sentence that can easily slip out in the middle of an argument. Most of the time, comments like this provoke the other person to strike back and the argument often ends up being below the belt and just plain hurtful, without resolving the problem that was actually raised. Remember, as we’ve already said, arguing the right way means always sticking to the facts, without resorting to insults!
Arguments are never pretty, but they can also be beneficial for a relationship. After all, if you never talk about the things that bother you about each other, that usually does even more harm than an actual argument. That’s why it is always better to talk about what’s bothering you. Just make sure you follow a few rules! Then you can quickly get back to loving each other again ❤