Be respectful during argument

Always be respectful. This sounds painfully obvious, but few people can boast that they always remain respectful during a heated argument. People have a right to disagree with you. Showing respect to other people, even when you strongly disagree, demonstrates that you value and trust the other person.

Furthermore, if you don’t respect the people you are arguing with, they will not respect you in turn. Getting personal, calling names, shouting, sarcasm, insults, threats and yelling will all cause the other person to lower their opinion of you. Eventually, you may lose their respect so much that they will no longer tolerate communicating with you at all about anything of importance, leaving your relationship greatly degraded.

When arguing with someone else, keep your argument focused on the point you are trying to make. Here, it can help to once again think of the point you are trying to communicate with the help of logic – premises, statements, conclusions, validity, and truth. Similarly, realize that when you are arguing with someone, no-one else should be involved, unless they are the topic of conversation. It’s not about what their friends or family thinks, or what other people have done. You are trying to communicate with the other person and only the other person – don’t forget that!

Another pointer is to realize that day-to-day arguments are not about ‘winning’ or losing’. When you are arguing with your spouse in the car, you are not having a formal debate. There is no scoring system, no ‘points’ to be earned and no voting method to determine a winner. ‘Winning’ does nothing to further communication, but instead limits people’s abilities to share their ideas and feelings. People who lack verbal eloquence will likely just shut down and stop engaging in the argument, leaving them feeling unsatisfied and unhappy.

Meanwhile, even if you have ‘won’ the argument in your own mind, due to the lack of the engagement of the other person, you probably won’t have made your own point resonate with them. The other person still probably doesn’t agree or understand your point – they have just given up dealing with you.

With that being, keep the communication active. No-one likes being ignored or walked away from. Even if you are getting frustrated or upset, it’s best to try and turn around the progression of the argument than to give up completely. If you are on the verge of losing self-control, then walking away might be necessary. Nonetheless simply avoiding the issue by opting out of the conversation does neither person any favors; the other person feels shunned whilst you will be left feeling flat and suppressed.

Also carefully consider the timing of bringing up an issue. In many relationships, people understand that there is a need to argue and communicate ideas, even if it isn’t always pleasant. Nonetheless, there is a time and a place for talking about problems and other times when it is better to just let it slide.

Don’t embarrass the other person by arguing in public or around friends and family, for example. It’s also best to try and avoid arguing when the other person is having a bad day, is in a low mood or dealing with some other issue present. Some days are seen as special, such as birthdays or holidays, and the other person will also probably not appreciate you souring the atmosphere by raising a lingering problem. Wait until you can have the full undisputed attention of the other person you want to communicate with, but also that you both have the time and space to argue.

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