Sunday Observer Online


Sunday, 8 November 2009





Marriage Proposals
Government Gazette

How to make your fights productive

We all get into fights with our significant others. It can be over little things, like whose turn it is to let the dog out, or why his shoes are in the middle of the living room floor again, or it can be big things. Either way, there is a right way to fight, and a wrong way.

When you fight fair, it can actually be good for your relationship, by allowing you to get issues out in the open, air out things that may be bothering you, and find solutions to problems. Follow these steps to make your next fight a constructive one.

Step 1

Keep it above the belt. The quickest way to make an argument is to go downhill into just screaming at each others territory is to take cheap shots. It may be the hardest thing to do, especially when you are angry, but delving into personal attacks will just make the entire discussion disintegrate into a spiteful fight. Take a deep breath, try to remember what the real issue is, and keep it civil.

Step 2

Don't use general statements. Words such as "always" and "never" are all-encompassing and rarely realistic. They may serve to help you make your point initially, but they just breed anger in the other person. Often your partner will become defensive and looks for incidents that counteract your statement, turning the argument into a scorecard of who did what to who when, which will accomplish nothing.

Step 3

Use "I" instead of "you" sentences. This is something everyone has heard before, but it is one of the best pieces of advice anyone can receive. "You" statements are accusatory and give a person reason to defend themselves, while "I" statements ("I feel," etc) give a person a chance to think about what they do/say and how it affects both people in the relationship. Letting someone know how their actions make you feel is a better strategy than just telling them that they do wrong.

Step 4

Keep it short. The longer fights drag out, the less productive they become. Set a time limit beforehand. Take breaks. Forget the old adage of never going to be angry; sometimes things look better in the morning. If you start to get away from the original issue, that is your cue that maybe it is time to take a breather or even decide that it is something the two of you will finish another day.


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