When you think of arguments you may immediately think of raised voices, name-calling, and even insults, but an argument usually arises from a disagreement that needs sorting out. These disagreements can occur in your relationship with a boy or girlfriend, your parents, your friends, a teacher, or even your boss or work colleague. How we react may depend on who you are arguing with, but the damaging results of an argument may last way past the original disagreement and undermine or destroy a previously strong relationship. Of course, you want to get your point across but is it worth risking your friendships, relationship, or your job over? Rather than resorting to the old techniques you picked up over the years (ignoring people, calling them names, trying to catch them out, etc), why not learn how to argue properly? Or rather, get yourself heard without ruffling feathers – here’s how:
- No Name-Calling
Name-calling only leads to hurt feelings, and even if something is said in the heat of the moment it is out there and can’t be taken back once it is said. Avoid giving people negative labels, calling them names, and of course swearing while you are arguing. These all undermine your authority and make you seem desperate, out-of-control, or even childish. Just don’t do it.
- No Shouting
Before we get on to what you should do, here is another tip for something to avoid. Shouting or yelling is another way to show that you are no longer in control of your emotions. Once you start shouting you have nowhere else to go - you have hit maximum tilt and shown your hand. It may be hard to stay calm and not raise your voice, especially if others start yelling, but watch your volume when trying to get your point across. Shouting others down may work in the short-term, but it is not really the way to achieve real results while keeping your relationships solid. Watch how the other person is reacting to your tone and adjust it down if you need to calm things further. Being confident at work or in yourself is one thing, but shouting others down is another entirely!
- Use “I” Statements
Express your feelings and opinions using “I” statements. This will help stop you from apportioning blame – instead clearly explaining how someone made you feel. In a relationship you might try, “I felt hurt when you didn’t tidy up after you promised you would” rather than “you never tidy up.” Sticking to the facts and saying how you feel is a better technique for keeping things calm than just blaming others.
- Look For Solutions
While you are explaining how you feel stay aware that ideally you want to find a solution. You need to focus on solving the disagreement together rather than continuously going on about what has happened. Finding solutions rather than looking at the problem is a great skill for the workplace or in a personal relationship.
- Don’t Drag Up The Past
Don’t be tempted to start dragging up things from the past. It may be tempting, but try to stay in the present and deal with the issue afresh. You may feel that past wrongs help support your argument, but they also detract from the matter at hand. Instead of bringing up the past do as it says above and look for solutions!
A disagreement is not one-sided. Make sure to listen to and acknowledge the thoughts and feelings of the other person too.
- Take A Time Out
If things get heated you can always take a time out to let things cool down. Arrange to meet later to discuss the matter when you have all calmed down and found some perspective. Taking a few deep breaths will help calm you down and allow you to return to the discussion with a less impulsive mood.
Changing how you communicate with others will not only help keep your relationships stronger, but it can also help you be heard and get your point across in a way that will allow it to be considered properly. This will prevent you losing your relationship or possibly your job. Although, if it is all a bit too late you can always try to get your old job back!