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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 January 24, 2021

    How to Say No When You Know You Say Yes Too Often

    How to Say No When You Know You Say Yes Too Often

    Do you say yes so often that you no longer feel that your own needs are being met? Are you wondering how to say no to people?

    For years, I was a serial people pleaser[1]. Known as someone who would step up, I would gladly make time, especially when it came to volunteering for certain causes. I proudly carried this role all through grade school, college, even through law school. For years, I thought saying “no” meant I would disappoint a good friend or someone I respected.

    But somewhere along the way, I noticed I wasn’t quite living my life. Instead, I seem to have created a schedule that was a strange combination of meeting the expectations of others, what I thought I should be doing, and some of what I actually wanted to do. The result? I had a packed schedule that left me overwhelmed and unfulfilled.

    It took a long while, but I learned the art of saying no. Saying no meant I no longer catered fully to everyone else’s needs and could make more room for what I really wanted to do. Instead of cramming too much in, I chose to pursue what really mattered. When that happened, I became a lot happier.

    And guess what? I hardly disappointed anyone.

    The Importance of Saying No

    When you learn the art of saying no, you begin to look at the world differently. Rather than seeing all of the things you could or should be doing (and aren’t doing), you start to look at how to say yes to what’s important.

    In other words, you aren’t just reacting to what life throws at you. You seek the opportunities that move you to where you want to be.

    Successful people aren’t afraid to say no. Oprah Winfrey, considered one of the most successful women in the world, confessed that it was much later in life when she learned how to say no. Even after she had become internationally famous, she felt she had to say yes to virtually everything.

    Being able to say no also helps you manage your time better.

    Warren Buffett views “no” as essential to his success. He said:

    “The difference between successful people and really successful people is that really successful people say no to almost everything.”

    When I made “no” a part of my toolbox, I drove more of my own success, focusing on fewer things and doing them well.

    How We Are Pressured to Say Yes

    It’s no wonder a lot of us find it hard to say no.

    From an early age, we are conditioned to say yes. We said yes probably hundreds of times in order to graduate from high school and then get into college. We said yes to find work, to get a promotion, to find love and then yes again to stay in a relationship. We said yes to find and keep friends.

    We say yes because we feel good when we help someone, because it can seem like the right thing to do, because we think that is key to success, and because the request might come from someone who is hard to resist.

    And that’s not all. The pressure to say yes doesn’t just come from others. We put a lot of pressure on ourselves.

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    At work, we say yes because we compare ourselves to others who seem to be doing more than we are. Outside of work, we say yes because we are feeling bad that we aren’t doing enough to spend time with family or friends.

    The message, no matter where we turn, is nearly always, “You really could be doing more.” The result? When people ask us for our time, we are heavily conditioned to say yes.

    How Do You Say No Without Feeling Guilty?

    Deciding to add the word “no” to your toolbox is no small thing. Perhaps you already say no, but not as much as you would like. Maybe you have an instinct that if you were to learn the art of no that you could finally create more time for things you care about.

    But let’s be honest, using the word “no” doesn’t come easily for many people.

    3 Rules of Thumbs for Saying No

    1. You Need to Get Out of Your Comfort Zone

    Let’s face it. It is hard to say no. Setting boundaries around your time, especially you haven’t done it much in the past, will feel awkward. Your comfort zone is “yes,” so it’s time to challenge that and step outside that.

    If you need help getting out of your comfort zone, check out this article.

    2. You Are the Air Traffic Controller of Your Time

    When you want to learn how to say no, remember that you are the only one who understands the demands for your time. Think about it: who else knows about all of the demands in your life? No one.

    Only you are at the center of all of these requests. You are the only one that understands what time you really have.

    3. Saying No Means Saying Yes to Something That Matters

    When we decide not to do something, it means we can say yes to something else that we may care more about. You have a unique opportunity to decide how you spend your precious time.

    6 Ways to Start Saying No

    Incorporating that little word “no” into your life can be transformational. Turning some things down will mean you can open doors to what really matters. Here are some essential tips to learn the art of no:

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    1. Check in With Your Obligation Meter

    One of the biggest challenges to saying no is a feeling of obligation. Do you feel you have a responsibility to say yes and worry that saying no will reflect poorly on you?

    Ask yourself whether you truly have the duty to say yes. Check your assumptions or beliefs about whether you carry the responsibility to say yes. Turn it around and instead ask what duty you owe to yourself.

    2. Resist the Fear of Missing out (FOMO)

    Do you have a fear of missing out (FOMO)? FOMO can follow us around in so many ways. At work, we volunteer our time because we fear we won’t move ahead. In our personal lives, we agree to join the crowd because of FOMO, even while we ourselves aren’t enjoying the fun.

    Check in with yourself. Are you saying yes because of FOMO or because you really want to say yes? More often than not, running after fear doesn’t make us feel better[2].

    3. Check Your Assumptions About What It Means to Say No

    Do you dread the reaction you will get if you say no? Often, we say yes because we worry about how others will respond or because of the consequences. We may be afraid to disappoint others or think we will lose their respect. We often forget how much we are disappointing ourselves along the way.

    Keep in mind that saying no can be exactly what is needed to send the right message that you have limited time. In the tips below, you will see how to communicate your no in a gentle and loving way.

    You might disappoint someone initially, but drawing a boundary can bring you the freedom you need so that you can give freely of yourself when you truly want to. And it will often help others have more respect for you and your boundaries, not less.

    4. When the Request Comes in, Sit on It

    Sometimes, when we are in the moment, we instinctively agree. The request might make sense at first. Or we typically have said yes to this request in the past.

    Give yourself a little time to reflect on whether you really have the time or can do the task properly. You may decide the best option is to say no. There is no harm in giving yourself the time to decide.

    5. Communicate Your “No” with Transparency and Kindness

    When you are ready to tell someone no, communicate your decision clearly. The message can be open and honest[3] to ensure the recipient that your reasons have to do with your limited time.

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    How do you say no? 9 Healthy Ways to Say “No”

      Resist the temptation not to respond or communicate all. But do not feel obligated to provide a lengthy account about why you are saying no.

      Clear communication with a short explanation is all that is needed. I have found it useful to tell people that I have many demands and need to be careful with how I allocate my time. I will sometimes say I really appreciate that they came to me and for them to check in again if the opportunity arises another time.

      6. Consider How to Use a Modified No

      If you are under pressure to say yes but want to say no, you may want to consider downgrading a “yes” to a “yes but…” as this will give you an opportunity to condition your agreement to what works best for you.

      Sometimes, the condition can be to do the task, but not in the time frame that was originally requested. Or perhaps you can do part of what has been asked.

      Final Thoughts

      Beginning right now, you can change how you respond to requests for your time. When the request comes in, take yourself off autopilot where you might normally say yes.

      Use the request as a way to draw a healthy boundary around your time. Pay particular attention to when you place certain demands on yourself.

      Try it now. Say no to a friend who continues to take advantage of your goodwill. Or, draw the line with a workaholic colleague and tell them you will complete the project, but not by working all weekend. You’ll find yourself much happier.

      More Tips on How to Say No

      Featured photo credit: Chris Ainsworth via unsplash.com

      Reference

      [1] Science of People: 11 Expert Tips to Stop Being a People Pleaser and Start Doing You
      [2] Anxiety and Depression Association of America: Tips to Get Over Your FOMO, or Fear of Missing Out
      [3] Cooks Hill Counseling: 9 Healthy Ways to Say “No”

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