Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Fighting Fair

7 Guidelines to Fairly Settling Disputes
By Alina Mikos
Deepen Your Bond by Improving Your Communication

Arguing is a part of all relationships, and while they are never considered an enjoyable experience, there are specific methods you can use to maximize the outcome. Arguments can either damage a relationship, or strengthen it through honesty and compromise. Read on for some valuable techniques for arguing that are wins for both of you.

1. Think Before You Speak

When tempers flare, it’s easy to allow your emotions to overrun your mind, resulting in words uttered in a moment of passion that you regret later. The greater your anger, the more you need to reflect on what you want to say for the good of the relationship. Realize that while in this moment you may be tempted to let your anger get the best of you, this will only move you further away from your goal—a positive resolution.

2. Stay on Topic

Stick to one argument as a time. Bringing up other problems only clouds the current issue and can quickly turn a small disagreement into all out war. Keep on track with the issue at hand so you can put all of your of energy into resolving the problem which landed you here in the first place.

3. Show Respect

This means no name calling, interrupting your partner, or attacking below the belt. Don’t let your anger allow you to forget the wise adage, “treat others as you wish to be treated.”

4. Put Yourself in Their Shoes

Understanding where your partner is coming from will allow you the perspective to resolve the issue more quickly. When you understand one another’s position, your empathy opens your mind to the situation and cuts through the anger that may be clouding your judgment.

5. Keep it Between Yourselves

Unless it’s a professional psychologist, bringing others into your argument is always a bad idea. No one can fully understand the depth and uniqueness of your relationship, and inviting a third voice into the mix can only complicate matters and increase your mate’s defensiveness.

6. Fight for the Relationship, Not Your Ego

Ask yourself if you are arguing for the sake of winning or for the sake of the relationship. If the end result is all about you, you can be sure that even if you win the disagreement, there’s a good chance your relationship will suffer. As partnerships are all about compromise, the only way to win is to fight for the two of you.

7. Don’t Assume, Ask

This falls under good communication rules among couples. Just as you need to be clear and honest about your thoughts and feelings, so must you listen carefully, and ask questions when there’s any doubt. Assuming you know your partner’s thoughts can erroneously put a negative and inaccurate spin on a particular situation that might otherwise be benign. It’s foolish to borrow this kind of trouble when the solution is to ask first and then maybe argue later.

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