Earlier this week, Jed discussed how arguments can start. We all have arguments, even those of us who are not argumentative. I have spent a good amount of energy in my own life avoiding arguments, usually by trying to be aware of and taking into account how others will respond to me, but sometimes just through peacekeeping measures.
I know that arguments can be unnerving and a little bit of a chore, but to be honest when you spend time with someone you care about, arguments are bound to happen. Below are a few ideas on how to best deal with arguments as they come up in your life. The tips below may seem like common sense, but I’ve tried to put a little spin on them and provide some bit of creativity to an otherwise difficult event.
Work to Understand
The first part of solving any argument revolves around being able to understand the other person’s point of view. However, they may not be very good at articulating what they are feeling in the heat of the moment. That’s okay, because you can help them understand what is going on in their mind and in their heart.
Role-playing is a great way to do this. By pretending to be someone else or by using hypotheticals, it can free both parties up from feeling that they need to play a certain part in the argument. The roles can be both serious and or humorous (check the next tip for more info about humor) and can show how each side feels about themselves or the other.
For example, if one party doesn’t feel the other is taking into account their feelings, by pretending to be the other party and talking through what they wish was going through the other party’s mind, the solution may be more clear than just talking about it.
Adopt A Little Humor
Humor can go a long way to defusing the anger and tension presented in an argument. While you don’t want to make light of a situation, establishing a humorous side to the conversation can serve as a safety zone for both sides to take shelter in when they feel the need.
Take for example an argument between a married couple. If one side feels they are trying to understand the other, but finds their position to be irrational, walking through their thought process in a humorous way may serve to highlight why it is irrational without causing any emotional harm.
Now this is an extremely delicate tip, as humor can easily backfire and cause the other side of the argument to feel like you are not taking them seriously. So, I only suggest using humor when either you know the other person well, know that you care about them and their feelings, or you are actually halfway decent at making jokes. In an argument, there’s nothing worse than making a joke that insults the other person and makes them even more upset.
Not everything needs to be solved right away. Sometimes an argument can wait to be solved until both parties have taken the time to think through their own thoughts and the thoughts of others. Perhaps after a few hours, someone will realize they were in the wrong. Or perhaps they might have a solution to the problem that was missing before.
I like to let my mind wander a lot, as it provides me with the chance to draw connections and think about things in a new light. When an argument doesn’t seem to be going anywhere, this can be the best option, as it keeps the frustration from building and the emotions from raising the conversation to an unproductive level.
During your next argument, take the time to think through what can be done to solve the argument, or at the very least lessen the intensity. The fewer emotions involved and the more logic that can be brought to the situation, the better the outcome will be.