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12 Things You Need To Know When Having A Fight In Your Relationship

12 Things You Need To Know When Having A Fight In Your Relationship

No one wants to fight with their partner, but we all do, don’t we? When you’re so in love with a person and spend so much time building a life with them, you’re going to have some disagreements. Instead of letting these arguments get under your skin and throw your relationship off course, read these tips so you’ll be prepared to have a calmer, fairer fight in your relationship.

1. Avoid generalizations and be specific.

When you’re fighting, you often just say whatever’s on your mind without thinking of how it will sound to your partner. When you say, “You always do this,” or, “You never say that,” you’re making your partner out to be inconsiderate, like they keep making the same mistakes. Think before you speak, and take away the ‘you always’ and ‘you never’ qualifiers. These phrases put your partner on the defense and they will immediately come back with, “I don’t always…,” which will derail your argument. Reference specific times when your partner forgot to do or say something and only say these things, instead of making them feel like you’re dumping everything on them at once.

2. Set out to become closer, not to win.

It’s really hard to not want to win a fight. In fact, it’s one of my biggest problems. I think I’m right, and therefore I want to win and be proven right. But that’s not fair in a relationship. During a fight, you should be trying to understand your partner’s point of view. You’re having a disagreement because you don’t see eye to eye on an issue. You already know your opinion, so take time to listen to your partner. Once you hear their thoughts, you’ll feel closer to them. You’ll know them better, and can see things from their point of view in the future.

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    3. Negotiate and compromise.

    Instead of winning, try to make sure everyone gets what they want. Okay, that’s nearly impossible, but you can at least make sure each of you get a little something that you want. Compromising means you both give up something, but you both get something, and this will help move your relationship forward.

    4. Establish a plan to move forward.

    Once you discuss a compromise you can both live with, establish a plan to implement this compromise in your daily lives. When you both know what is expected, you’ll know exactly what you need to do to keep this fight from happening again. You can both follow the plan you mapped out and know that your partner will be happy with what’s being done to change the relationship.

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    5. Consider taking time to cool off.

    Fights won’t always be resolved quickly. Sometimes they can go on for hours, or even days! You’re advised to not go to bed angry, but sometimes it’s got to happen. Sleeping isn’t the worst thing to do during the middle of an argument, because when you wake up you might not feel as on guard and set in your ways. You don’t have to take an overnight break, though. Taking a few minutes apart to cool off and calm down will more than likely help put the fight, and your position in it, into perspective.

    6. Use humor to tone down an argument.

    Using humor during an argument is a really helpful tip because if you or your partner crack a joke, you’ll laugh, lighten the mood, and remember that you love this person because they make your life fun. Laughing during a fight can break the tension and make you realize that the fight is kind of ridiculous. Be careful with this tip, though, because if you’re having a very serious argument, cracking a joke might make you seem heartless, like you’re not as invested in finding a resolution as your partner is.

    7. Look at and touch your partner.

    It’s easy to be angry at someone if you’re not standing right in front of them or looking at them. When you want to have a serious discussion with your partner, sit down next to or across from them and frequently make eye contact. Looking deep into your love’s eyes will remind you how strongly you feel for them, and might take some of the edge off the disagreement. The same goes for touching; feeling your partner’s skin, realizing they’re a real person with flaws and emotions, will help keep you grounded instead of just hurling insults at them from across the room.

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    8. Respect your partner’s tears.

    Sometimes it’s frustrating when your partner cries mid-fight because the tears don’t seem to be accomplishing anything. You want to talk over your lover’s sobs and prove your opinion, or take that time to hit your point home and make them feel worse while they’re already crying. Don’t do any of those things, regardless of how angry or defeated those tears may make you feel. Sit down beside your partner and rub their back; the closeness and the sensitive touch will help ease their tears and might even take some tension out of the disagreement. If you can’t make yourself feel sensitive to their tears, then take this time to leave the room and cool off yourself. You both will feel more levelheaded once the crying is over.

    9. Don’t multitask – be attentive.

    No one ever has time for a fight, and no one ever wants to be engaged in one. But when you are, focus purely on the fight. Don’t pick up your phone and text friends or surf the web. Don’t wash dishes or hang clothes or do chores. Sit or stand with your partner and really focus on them as a person, as well as what both of you are saying and are trying to resolve in your relationship.

    10. Forget the past.

    It’s not fair to bring up past arguments or mistakes in your current disagreement, especially if the issue has already been forgiven. If you keep bringing up past problems, the argument may never end! Not to mention that thinking about the past will more than likely make you angrier, because even if you’ve forgiven the issues, you’re still thinking about past fights and that will only make you more eager to win the current disagreement.

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    11. Stay put.

    Unless you both agree to take a break and cool down, don’t walk away from the fight. Even if you’re just going to get a drink of water, stalking off without telling your partner looks like an act of aggression. Instead of staying put and discussing the problem, your partner will think that you’re already giving up and are not willing to talk.

    12. Don’t let it ruin the relationship.

    What happens if you can’t reach a compromise or you can’t let the issue go? At this point, stop fighting and think about damage control. How much do you value the relationship? Is it worth fighting this hard? If the problem is very important to you, then maybe it is worth ending the relationship. However, you shouldn’t go into the fight thinking you’ll break up because of it. Try to make it work. Most often, the fight will be petty in the scope of the bigger picture, and your love is so valuable that you’re willing to let something go just to stay with your partner. This isn’t failure; this isn’t losing. This is knowing what you value and what you want in your life.

    Featured photo credit: soukup via flickr.com

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    Last Updated on May 21, 2019

    How to Communicate Effectively in Any Relationship

    How to Communicate Effectively in Any Relationship

    For all our social media bravado, we live in a society where communication is seen less as an art, and more as a perfunctory exercise. We spend so much time with people, yet we struggle with how to meaningfully communicate.

    If you believe you have mastered effective communication, scan the list below and see whether you can see yourself in any of the examples:

    Example 1

    You are uncomfortable with a person’s actions or comments, and rather than telling the individual immediately, you sidestep the issue and attempt to move on as though the offending behavior or comment never happened.

    You move on with the relationship and develop a pattern of not addressing challenging situations. Before long, the person with whom you are in relationship will say or do something that pushes you over the top and predictably, you explode or withdraw completely from the relationship.

    In this example, hard-to-speak truths become never- expressed truths that turn into resentment and anger.

    Example 2

    You communicate from the head and without emotion. While what you communicate makes perfect sense to you, it comes across as cold because it lacks emotion.

    People do not understand what motivates you to say what you say, and without sharing your feelings and emotions, others experience you as rude, cold or aggressive.

    You will know this is a problem if people shy away from you, ignore your contributions in meetings or tell you your words hurt. You can also know you struggle in this area if you find yourself constantly apologizing for things you have said.

    Example 3

    You have an issue with one person, but you communicate your problem to an entirely different person.

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    The person in whom you confide lacks the authority to resolve the matter troubling you, and while you have vented and expressed frustration, the underlying challenge is unresolved.

    Example 4

    You grew up in a family with destructive communication habits and those habits play out in your current relationships.

    Because you have never stopped to ask why you communicate the way you do and whether your communication style still works, you may lack understanding of how your words impact others and how to implement positive change.

    If you find yourself in any of the situations described above, this article is for you.

    Communication can build or decimate worlds and it is important we get it right. Regardless of your professional aspirations or personal goals, you can improve your communication skills if you:

    • Understand your own communication style
    • Tailor your style depending on the needs of the audience
    • Communicate with precision and care
    • Be mindful of your delivery, timing and messenger

    1. Understand Your Communication Style

    To communicate effectively, you must understand the communication legacy passed down from our parents, grandparents or caregivers. Each of us grew up with spoken and unspoken rules about communication.

    In some families, direct communication is practiced and honored. In other families, family members are encouraged to shy away from difficult conversations. Some families appreciate open and frank dialogue and others do not. Other families practice silence about substantive matters, that is, they seldom or rarely broach difficult conversations at all.

    Before you can appreciate the nuance required in communication, it helps to know the familial patterns you grew up with.

    2. Learn Others Communication Styles

    Communicating effectively requires you to take a step back, assess the intended recipient of your communication and think through how the individual prefers to be communicated with. Once you know this, you can tailor your message in a way that increases the likelihood of being heard. This also prevents you from assuming the way you communicate with one group is appropriate or right for all groups or people.

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    If you are unsure how to determine the styles of the groups or persons with whom you are interacting, you can always ask them:

    “How do you prefer to receive information?”

    This approach requires listening, both to what the individuals say as well as what is unspoken. Virgin Group CEO Richard Branson noted that the best communicators are also great listeners.

    To communicate effectively from relationship to relationship and situation to situation, you must understand the communication needs of others.

    3. Exercise Precision and Care

    A recent engagement underscored for me the importance of exercising care when communicating.

    On a recent trip to Ohio, I decided to meet up with an old friend to go for a walk. As we strolled through the soccer park, my friend gently announced that he had something to talk about, he was upset with me. His introduction to the problem allowed me to mentally shift gears and prepare for the conversation.

    Shortly after introducing the shift in conversation, my friend asked me why I didn’t invite him to the launch party for my business. He lives in Ohio and I live in the D.C. area.

    I explained that the event snuck up on me, and I only started planning the invite list three weeks before the event. Due to the last-minute nature of the gathering, I opted to invite people in the DMV area versus my friends from outside the area – I didn’t want to be disrespectful by asking them to travel on such short notice.

    I also noted that I didn’t want to be disappointed if he and others declined to come to the event. So I played it safe in terms of inviting people who were local.

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    In the moment, I felt the conversation went very well. I also checked in with my friend a few days after our walk, affirmed my appreciation for his willingness to communicate his upset and our ability to work through it.

    The way this conversation unfolded exemplified effective communication. My friend approached me with grace and vulnerability. He approached me with a level of curiosity that didn’t put me on my heels — I was able to really listen to what he was saying, apologize for how my decision impacted him and vow that going forward, I would always ask rather than making decisions for him and others.

    Our relationship is intact, and I now have information that will help me become a better friend to him and others.

    4. Be Mindful of Delivery, Timing and Messenger

    Communicating effectively also requires thinking through the delivery of the message one intends to communicate as well as the appropriate time for the discussion.

    In an Entrepreneur.com column, VIP Contributor Deep Patel, noted that persons interested in communicating well need to master the art of timing. Patel noted,[1]

    “Great comedians, like all great communicators, are able to feel out their audience to determine when to move on to a new topic or when to reiterate an idea.”

    Communicating effectively also requires thoughtfulness about the messenger. A person prone to dramatic, angry outbursts should never be called upon to deliver constructive feedback, especially to people whom they do not know. The immediate aftermath of a mass shooting is not the ideal time to talk about the importance of the Second Amendment rights.

    Like everyone else, I must work to ensure my communication is layered with precision and care.

    It requires precision because words must be carefully tailored to the person with whom you are speaking.

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    It requires intentionality because before one communicates, one should think about the audience and what the audience needs in order to hear your message the way you intended it to be communicated.

    It requires active listening which is about hearing verbal and nonverbal messages.

    Even though we may be right in what we say, how we say it could derail the impact of the message and the other parties’ ability to hear the message.

    Communicating with care is also about saying things that the people in our life need to hear and doing so with love.

    The Bottom Line

    When I left the meeting with my dear friend, I wondered if I was replicating or modeling this level of openness and transparency in the rest of my relationships.

    I was intrigued and appreciative. He’d clearly thought about what he wanted to say to me, picked the appropriate time to share his feedback and then delivered it with care. He hit the ball out of the park and I’m hopeful we all do the same.

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    Featured photo credit: Kenan Buhic via unsplash.com

    Reference

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