Whatever the case is, we’re bound to butt heads from time to time. After all arguments come with the territory, whether that be between friends, family or significant others. We’re not just talking about healthy debates either; we’re talking about those arguments that get heated. You know the ones where things start getting personal, anger is at an all-time high, responses start becoming mean, etc. Next time you find yourself in such an argument, try implementing the method listed down below. These techniques will allow you to get to the root cause of the issue at hand and actually solve the argument. So, without further ado, let’s get into it:
Step one: Take a step back
Even when we do our best to control our emotions, the anger we feel can let us get carried away. When in a heated argument, it’s really easy to get angry and start saying mean things (things we might later regret) that can end up hurting the other person’s feelings. Taking a step back gives both you and the person you are in an argument with time to collect your thoughts, calm down and consider different perspectives. Next time you find yourself in a heated argument, take a step back (even if it’s just for 15-20 minutes) before things start getting out of hand.
PS: Don’t just storm off in a rage of anger. Instead, tell the person you are in an argument with that you need some time to cool down and would like to revisit the issue once you are feeling more level-headed. Suggest they also take the time to do the same.
Step two: Take long deep breaths.
In response to a heated argument, your body starts releasing cortisol (the stress hormone.) You may be angry, your heart may be racing and your fists might have tightened. When this happens, the best thing you can start doing right away is taking long deep breaths. Inhale, exhale and then repeat. Deep breathing is known to invoke feelings of calmness and doing so will allow you to take a step back from the strong negative emotions you are currently feeling. This allows you to think more clearly and look at the situation from a calmer point of view.
- Step one and step two combined will allow you to process the argument in a much healthier way and when you revisit the topic, it won’t feel as heavy.
Step three: Revisit the issue and listen to what the other person is saying
When in an argument, especially a heated one, all you want to do is get your point across and be heard. As humans, we have a strong tendency to want to be right. However, the point of an argument is not to be right or to win, rather it is to get together, discuss the issue at hand and come up with a solution. This way everyone wins. Try not to take the things they are saying personally or as attacks. Instead, actually listen to what the other person is really trying to say. Put yourself in their shoes for a minute and try to look at the situation from their point of view. Doing this will allow you to respond in a more reasonable way instead of fighting back with angry words. Furthermore, this step will allow them to feel validated, heard and understood. This means that they will be more willing to cool down and offer you the same respect back when it’s your turn to speak.
Step four: Talk about how you feel
After having completed step three, where you let the other person share their thoughts and feelings, it is likely that they will give you the same respect back and listen. So, take this time to share your feelings. Remember to avoid focusing on blaming the other person and share how you personally feel. For example, instead of saying something like “you’re a terrible friend,” try “I feel neglected when you always cancel on our plans last minute.” If you approach the situation and imply blame, chances are you will get a defensive/angry reaction, so lessen the blame game and use “I statements instead.” This simple little trick will really open the gates of communication and make the other person more willing to consider where you’re coming from.
Step five: Work together to find a compromise/solution
Once you have completed all prior steps, given each other space, calmed down and listened to each other, get together and find a solution. Sit down and brainstorm a list of possible solutions, agree on which option meets both people’s needs and then make a plan on how to best implement it.