How to argue successfully — and why your relationship health depends on it…
We all have arguments and, while they’re not enjoyable, they can improve your relationship. Expert Jenni Trent Hughes shows us how to do it the right way.
1. Don’t ask friends for advice
When you talk to other people about your relationship problems, they’ll give their opinion based on their own experiences — which means they’ll bring their own hang-ups and prejudices to the table. You need to think carefully about what you’re arguing for and why you’re upset — otherwise you’ll cloud the issue.
2. Take a breath
As tempting as it is to start shouting the moment your other half upsets you, it doesn’t help anyone. Remove yourself from the situation and relax. Then suggest talking somewhere calm and suitable when you both feel more in control. Giving yourself this space allows you time to think about what you want to say and what you want to achieve from the conversation.
3. Feel on top form
When you meet to discuss your problems, make sure you’re both in the right state of mind. If one of you is angry, tired, hungry or sad, it’ll make for an uneven playing field.
4. It’s not just what you say…
Studies have shown men process information in short bites of about 10 words. This is why he often can’t remember something you’ve said. So, when you argue, make sure each point is short and concise. Ramble on and you’ll lose the argument.
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5. Practice makes perfect
Work out beforehand what you want to say, write it down and spend five minutes rehearsing your arguments.
6. Be calm
Breathe evenly and deeply to avoid getting flustered — a lack of oxygen makes your heart race, making you feel more agitated and less in control.
Really listen to what he’s saying because nothing is guaranteed to close him down quicker than feeling ignored. When he listens to you, thank him — he’ll feel valued.
8. Walk away
Realise when you’ve had enough for one day. Not all arguments can be resolved in one sitting. If you’ve been labouring one point for 15 to 20 minutes, you need the courage to say: ‘Let’s come back to this another time.’
And remember, silence is a relationship killer and causes even more unhappiness than having uncomfortable conversations!
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