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.
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.
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.
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.
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.