Disagreements and arguments are a part of life. It happens between spouses, friends, coworkers, and family. It’s something you can’t avoid, but there is a way to fight fairly and in a way that is healthy. When you learn to fight the right way both sides can come to a solution that they both feel good with while avoiding hurt feelings and anger.
Knowing how to fight fair is such an important skill to have in business and in your personal life. We definitely have had our fair share of arguments and disagreements. But over the years we have found better ways to disagree with each other. Fighting, arguing and disagreeing is fine. It can be healthy if you do it in a fair way.
Today we are sharing our top 7 tips for how to fight fairly so that problems can be solved and feelings can be spared instead of getting ugly.
Identify your fighting style. It is important to know how you tend to fight and to recognize the fighting style of other people in your life so you can understand why people react the way they do. Knowing how you fight is the first step in figuring out how to fight more fairly. If you recognize that you tend to explode and yell a lot maybe you can find ways to control your anger or maybe you need to address things sooner instead of letting them build up until you can’t take it anymore. Or if you know you tend to shut down and walk away to cool down you can make that clear to others so they know you aren’t being rude or ignoring them. Being self aware is so important in learning to fight fairly.
Breathing and solitude. In the heat of an argument people can say things they don’t mean and it can escalate very quickly. Sometimes it is good to step away for a minute or two to breathe deeply, be quiet, cool down, and think about why the disagreement is happening. When you are relaxed it is easier to think clearly. Once you calm down it is easier to walk back to the person and figure things out with level heads.
Focus on the issue, not the person. A lot of times in arguments we attack the other person’s character or personality. We focus on what they did wrong instead of looking at the problem. The other person--whether they are a coworker, a spouse, a boss, or a client--they are not the enemy. Both parties need to work together as a team to overcome the problem instead of pointing fingers and blaming each other. Picture yourself and the other party on the same side fighting against a problem instead of seeing it as your side against their side.
Avoid sarcasm and generalizations. These two things make fighting fairly difficult. You should avoid saying things like “you always” or “you never”, these generalizations add fuel to the fire because they are almost never true. Sarcasm is another thing that is toxic in a relationship. Taking sarcastic shots at the other person does not help overcome the problem. It just causes hurt feelings.
Don’t focus on being right, focus on being kind. No matter who you are arguing with it is important to remember the goal is to solve the problem and in a way that makes both parties feel good. It’s not about being right. You have to be empathetic and compassionate towards the other person in order to understand where they are coming from and how to resolve things.
Don’t focus on what the other person does, but how they make you feel. When you disagree or argue with someone try to think about how you are feeling and why you are feeling that way instead of making it about the other person. If you just tell the other person, hey what you’re doing is wrong, it’s hard to find a solution and it is easy for the other person just to say they are not doing anything wrong. When you are able to identify the way you are feeling because of what they are doing it can be easier to fix. It also makes it less like an attack on the other person because you are making it about how you are feeling.
Don’t bring other people into the argument who don’t belong there. One thing that can really make the other person feel attacked is bringing other people into an argument between the two of you. For example, if you are in an argument with your spouse and you say “so and so feels the same way about you too” or “so and so thinks you do that too”. It’s not productive in finding a solution and it’s just going to cause hurt feelings between others.