We all know those arguments that can escalate quickly. Unfortunately, we have all been a part of those conversations. How can you stop an argument before it escalates? How can you calm yourself when you are furious at the other person? Most often, you regret all the things you say when you are mad.
There is a strategy that you can use to re-establish peace and bring reason into an argument with a significant other even if you are in the middle of a heated argument. It’s never too late. You can practice this strategy because as with anything else, practice makes it perfect. The use of this strategy will bring some peace in your daily life since we all know that those heated arguments have a negative impact on us.
The important thing to remember is this is not a strategy that you should hide from your significant other. Share it and talk about it if you often argue and it will make your life easier. Try it out or even practice it during small arguments. There is not much use of it if you are the only one practicing a peaceful and respectful conversation. You will be proud of yourself at the end of that conversation, however, you still have an issue to deal with.
Use this Strategy to Stop an Argument?
The strategy is simple, but it is not necessarily easy. So, what is the strategy? When you notice that the fight is starting, the first thing to do is to stop. If needed, stop mid-sentence. Take a deep breath and restart the scene that triggers the fight. Even if there were multiple triggers, pick the last one you can remember. Once you have that scene in your mind, start over and do the following:
- Refrain from judging, criticizing, and name-calling such as lazy and irresponsible.
- Use “I” language, instead of blaming someone with “You are…” correct yourself by saying “I believe that you are… ” Avoid judging and name-calling here as well.
- Instead of dismissing another person’s argument, have an open mind. If you do not understand what they are saying, use mirroring and say: “What I hear is that you…. “ and repeat whatever you heard the other side say.
- Be open in your posture and facial expression. Most of our communication is in posture and non-verbal communication is strong but most of the time it is not in our control. Be aware of your posture and your facial expression.
- Use terms of endearment. If you love and care about the person you are arguing with, do not forget that.
- Own your reactions, thoughts, and feelings. If you say or react the way you regret it, own it, and apologize.
It’s important to acknowledge your contribution to an argument. Often during or after an argument, both sides believe that they are not to blame. We are sometimes busy blaming others for their words, but we have to take ownership of what the other side is saying. If you need to take a step back, do that, and give yourself and your partner a second chance to discuss the issue.
In an escalated fight, we feel lost in our emotional reaction. You have to get back to yourself and if you feel like you simply can’t, stop yourself from talking completely and take a break. Think about all other ways you can approach an argument, should you show more humility, is it time for humor? More often, things can be done differently, and it benefits you, it benefits your mental health and the way you will feel that day or the days after.