10 Ways To Diffuse An Argument With A Partner

9th July 2018

Arguments can often get quickly out of control and lead to major fallouts

Here are some tips on how to avoid a full-blown row developing:-

1. Make a Cup of Tea/Coffee

I am not suggesting a cup of tea is the solution to all problems but taking some time out to do something else allows you time and space to reflect and think about your reply taking control of the discussion. If this is not practical then…

2.  Breathe in and count to 10 before slowly exhaling 

This simple delaying tactic allows you time and space to assess and think carefully about your response. It avoids knee jerk personal attacks, which can have the effect of starting world war three.

3. Walk away – but say you are going to do this

Do not just walk away from the other person as this will only inflame the other person – take a deep breath and calmly explain you cannot have this conversation right this minute but that you will continue the discussion at a later time and give the timescale in which you will. And make sure that you keep to this promise.

4. Reach out and make contact

Sometimes reaching out and gently touching your partner disarms them as it reminds them you are a team and that you care about each other

5. Stick to the point

Do not start listing all the things that annoy you about the other person or what they have or have not done. In doing so it severely lessens the point you are making and just leads to the other person defending themselves and retaliating with their own list of annoyances. This just serves to escalates the intensity of the argument.

6. Agree to disagree or find a compromise you can both live with

This is most relevant when it comes to small issues rather than fundamental issues. You need to decide which are fundamental and need to be resolved from those that are not worth pursuing.

7. Let is go

Don’t hold grudges or raise the disagreement again in a later argument. Once a discussion has concluded draw a line and move on. Do not let the issue simmer and fester until a later time.

8. Listen

By listening and allowing the other person to speak uninterrupted allows that person to feel heard and feel validated. It does not mean they are right. By listening the discussion is likely to remain calmer than may otherwise be the case when each person is just venting their feelings unheard. It also allows you to hear what they say and think about your reply. I find it helps if you have an object, such as a ball, and when a person is holding the object (maximum of 5 minutes) they speak uninterrupted. the object is then passed to the other person and that person then has 5 minutes to respond uninterrupted. This continues until the issue has been resolved or you have agreed to disagree.

9. Hug and say sorry

No matter how awkward this feels it is really important at the end of any heated discussion. It reaffirms the underlying feeling of affection you have for each other, even at times when you disagree with the other person and they are not your favourite person at that time.

10. Use humour – with caution 

This is risky because you do not want to make the other person feel belittled or their thoughts and feelings trivialized. It does, however, work for some people as it initially disarms them and allows a moment of reflection.

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