My post on positive methods in handing anger got a significant response and inspired me to write another: how to argue positively with your partner. If you are in any sort of personal relationship be it with a family member, friend, or spouse sooner or later differences of opinions will pop up and an argument will come to fruition. This post is inspired by Lisa’s comment on arguing with her partner. After almost six years together and almost two years of marriage here is what I have learnt to help handle those interpersonal skirmishes:
1. Don’t get too upset. If your partner is grumpy or you are grumpy don’t take it too personally. Perhaps someone is just in a bad mood? Don’t create World War III out of nothing.
2. Don’t be mean or cruel. Just because you are having an argument please do your best to avoid saying or doing something hurtful. Even though you are disagreeing don’t say something that will make the matter worse.
3. Consider how your words or the argument is impacting the other person. Apologize for the bad feeling and let them know that you love them despite the disagreement.
4. Forgive and forget. Don’t hold onto the argument and continue to bring it up months later. You had a fight, big deal, move on and be happy.
One of the things that I enjoy about my relationship with Range is how well we argue. We can have quiet an impassioned disagreement and then go out and have a wonderful dinner together the following moment. To me that is very important. It is essential to be able to have a positive argument with your spouse. However, arguments do not go well when abusive comments are said, when you feel you are not being listened to, or when people keep bringing up long forgotten incidents from the past. When situations like that arise perhaps it is best to simply move on. We all make mistakes and we need to work together to solve them.
It’s time to move on when:
1. Someone is not listening to who you really are: once I had a close girlfriend suddenly decide that I was a terrible person despite years of generosity and goodwill. In the end I had to realize that it was her problem not mine and move on to others who appreciated me.
2. Someone who is verbally abusive: I once dated a man who would be very mean when we argued. I came to see this relationship as being dysfunctional and realized that he was not worth the trouble or abuse.
3. Someone who is unforgiving: I have a close family member who continues to berate about the past and is not interested in considering my feelings or their own actions. Again, perhaps a bit of time would help this wound heal.
4. Someone who is a “control freak” or “game player”: you know the type. They reach out at the very last moment and seem to have every social interaction mapped out like a cunning game of chess. Again, is this person really worth it? Chances are the relationship is not genuine. Move on and stay close to those that appreciate you.