I haven’t gotten into a fight with a man I was dating since I was a teenager. I don’t fight. I don’t raise my voice. I don’t have a temper tantrum.
People always assume that I don’t fight because my nonchalant disposition and that I just don’t care that much. The truth is, I don’t think there are that many things worth fighting about.
I disagree, I discuss and I figure things out. I pick my battles. Most importantly I don’t try to resolve things right away. When someone says or does something I don’t agree with. I say my piece in as few words as possible. If they want to continue the conversation, I try to table it.
In the heat of the moment, we never truly say what we mean. That little voice in our head, that rarely has anything nice to say takes over and speaks on our behalf. That voice forms it’s opinions based on the past and not based on the matter currently at hand. That’s why people bring up the past in the heat of the argument so often and start fighting about things that don’t even relate.
This is the one time in life I don’t encourage being fully expressed.
Here are my rules for arguing:
Give yourself a break during the argument. If it’s really heated, walk away. If it’s small, just let it go for the time being and continue your day, knowing that you can re-engage at any time.
Set an intent for further communication. If you need a little space but want to talk about it in an hour or two, the next day or in 15 minutes, you have to communicate that to your partner.
Let that voice in your head say its piece. Be sure it’s being said in your head and not out loud.
Realize that it’s not you talking. That voice does not always convey your actual thoughts or even a way that you want to be in the future, because again, it’s based on the past.
Figure out the outcome you are looking for. Is this important to you? Is it something that could eventually figure it self out through action rather then discussion? Do you have an actionable solution to the problem? What works and doesn’t work for you about this situation?
You can then return to the conversation more clear-headed and engaged in the present.
What you’ll learn by practicing these rules is that more often then not, the topic isn’t that important in the first place and we just put more meaning behind it than necessary. That often the issue is how the situation occurs to us and is not in the reality of it. When you discuss your issues in the present and in their reality, the outcome is one that is more positive and encourages progress.
Always ask yourself, who can you be in this moment that will make a difference for the issue you are having?