Sometimes, conflicts between family, your partner, friends, coworkers, or even strangers are unavoidable. That’s why it’s very important to learn how to resolve arguments and conflicts in a healthy and productive way, so that you can always patch up your relationships, with the least amount of drama involved.
Arguments will naturally happen with anyone you spend a lot of time around. Sometimes you’ll say a little too much or go a little too far. Other times you will be immature, illogical, and irrational. You’re only human after all. Nobody’s perfect, so don’t beat yourself up too much about it.
It doesn’t take much for arguments to blow out of proportion and become destructive to your relationships. Until you learn how to navigate arguments in a mature and reasonable way, they can be minefields. One step a little too far, and all hell breaks loose. Suddenly, the issue is enormously exacerbated, and the original problem is the least of your concerns.
Arguments bring out the ugly side of people. Until you know how to navigate them, they can have a heavy toll on your mental and physical health and hurt the people you care about most. That’s why it’s important to know how to navigate them, diffuse them, and move forward in a good direction so that it doesn’t happen again.
So that’s what we’re going to dig into in this article. How to resolve arguments, how to prevent them, and how to make sure a small trife doesn’t turn into a deadly war.
Are arguments healthy or destructive?
It doesn’t matter how enlightened you think you are, you’re going to get into arguments with people sometimes. Energy builds up and it needs to be cleared.
I have arguments here and there. I’m sure you do too, and that’s perfectly okay. Through them, people express themselves fully, say what sometimes needs to be said and flush their problems into the spotlight. So they’re not all bad.
In fact, it’s healthy to have arguments sometimes, to an extent, because they put people’s issues on the table. All the stagnant negative energy is brought to the surface, and deeper underlying issues are brought to attention.
This diffuses stress, creates a pathway for productive dialog, and opens problems up for discussion that might otherwise remain brewing beneath the surface. After a productive and healthy argument, people may even feel closer to each other than before.
Furthermore, arguments are also a way for people to vent, which we all need to do from time to time. This is actually a good thing for your mental health as venting is a good way for you to process your emotions, as it acts as an emotional release.
But there is a line where the occasional argument evolves into something toxic and dysfunctional. This is the issue. A healthy argument or heated discussion can easily become hurtful and damaging to everyone involved if it spirals out of control.
This is why it’s important to know how to resolve arguments and manage them so that everyone comes up feeling better, not worse.
When do arguments become toxic?
A toxic or dysfunctional argument is when people go overboard. This is when people use arguments to deliberately hurt or degrade the other person, cause unnecessary drama, or argue just for the sake of arguing when there is no issue, or it can be easily solved.
Toxic arguments are common in dysfunctional relationships when neither person in the argument knows how to navigate or diffuse it. So they set out to win instead of to understand why the other person is so roused up, and how they can help.
Nothing good comes from a destructive argument. People only get hurt, it doesn’t resolve anything, and it usually leaves a bitter taste in your mouth which creates more tension than it solves.
When you know how to resolve an argument, sure, arguments will still happen, but they will be much smoother going and end in a reasonable conclusion which leaves both people feeling satisfied instead of angrier and more resentful.
Awareness is the biggest remedy.
If you want to make better connections with people, it’s important to learn how to resolve arguments, navigate people who are pissed off about something, and prevent them from occurring in the first place via good communication, compassion, and self-awareness.
How do arguments become destructive?
The problem with most arguments is that ego gets in the way. Everyone involved feels like they need to make a point.
People begin deliberately hurting each other because the ego needs to come out victorious. Each attack becomes more painful, and the whole situation quickly escalates. Arguments become battles where each person will retaliate with more force because each blow provokes the ego a little more.
These sorts of arguments quickly spiral out of control, and often leave lasting damage. Destructive arguments will open old wounds if you’re not careful. Very likely they’ll create new ones too.
There is no successful conclusion of an argument when the ego gets involved. The victor is based on how much they could hurt the other person, and this is obviously going to have some shitty consequences. This is what children who don’t know any better do, not mature adults.
How can you avoid dysfunctional arguments?
Understand that dysfunctional arguments are never beneficial for anyone. You can avoid them by refusing to engage in them. It takes two people to fuel destructive arguments because they’re essentially games of tennis. You can’t play the game if the other person isn’t hitting the ball back.
If you don’t retaliate, and stay level-headed, the fire will smolder because you aren’t provoking the other person further. If someone is screaming and shouting, making a fuss, or trying to hurt you, don’t be condescending, rude, or ignorant.
Be the good guy who sits there and takes it all without fighting back, and chances are that the other person will feel like they’ve been in the wrong, and apologize.
Resist the urge to be right or to prove a point. Don’t let insults and personal attacks get to you. Stay centered and be a better person. If you can do this despite the other person desperately trying to fan the flame, then you are the real MPV.
If both parties are aware of this and make an effort to stay level-headed, and be conscious of their own triggers, progress can be made. Work things through rather than turning on each other. Have the aim to help one another, and often you will need to make this shift first before the other person joins.
It shows integrity and maturity to speak about your issues like calm adults. This is always the most effective solution. Yelling and screaming won’t do anything besides give you a headache, and replace your peace of mind with rage.
- Identifying your triggers to heal the root trauma
- Pointing the finger? How to recognize, understand, and stop projecting your insecurities
How to navigate and diffuse arguments with your partner or friends
Arguments will happen in any functional relationship. It’s natural, especially when you are still learning to live with your partner. As you spend a lot of time around your partner, it’s only a matter of time until you unconsciously cross boundaries and get on each other’s nerves.
Sometimes tension rises and mistakes are made. Often things will evolve into a problem, in the blink of an eye. You can’t go back in time to mend the mistake, but you can prevent similar things from happening in the first place. This awareness and acknowledgment make a big difference.
It’s important to acknowledge what triggered your partner in the first place. Discuss it, remember it, and avoid hitting that trigger again. Likewise, if someone seems ticked off, sometimes its best to open that can of worms and talk about it before it explodes.
Open communication is important. The more you discuss these things, the more visible the boundaries become. Having a sense of social awareness and being observant is also crucial in keeping the peace and making sure that you aren’t crossing boundaries.
Aim to understand the other person rather than prove your point
Avoid becoming dismissive, belittling, or manipulative in your relationships with other people. This sort of behavior will always cause more problems. Listen, acknowledge, compromise, and negotiate.
Listen to the other person. Listening to them and acknowledging them is crucially important, especially if it’s with someone you care about. Reach a conclusion with everything and make sure that the issues and tensions have been thoroughly discussed and diffused.
If you can tell that something is wrong, get them to speak and express themselves by gently goading. They will come around in their own time. Respect their privacy and personal space. Don’t push too hard, or they will blow up in your face.
Just create a relaxed and nonjudgmental space where the person knows they can open up to you and talk to you if something is wrong. If they feel like you won’t listen or don’t care, the tension’s just going to keep building until it does explode.
Give your partner, family, or friends freedom and space to breathe. If you’re smothering them, you are going to get on their nerves quickly. If you give them the time to reflect and process everything, this will diffuse a lot of tension and prevent it from accruing.
Show them that you are committed to making the relationship work. If you show that you can grow and develop yourself in the relationship, then they will likely make the effort too.
Learn not to engage an argument
The best remedy for arguments is prevention. Use a verbal condom to keep the interaction safe and controlled. Learning to navigate arguments in a constructive, rational, and mature way is a learning curve.
The more you do this, the more skilled you will become at spotting arguments before they occur, diffusing them, and resolving them quickly.
There is never a need to argue. The need to argue comes from the lower self. The ego goads you to strike back and inflict damage when you feel hurt. If the other person is blinded by emotion and will not see your stance on the situation, don’t try to force it across. It’s only going to aggravate them further.
State your opinion calmly. Stay centered and don’t allow yourself to be provoked, despite what the other person says or does.
The first person to raise their voice in an argument loses. This is because the first person to raise their voice feels enough insecurity to fight their point rather than understanding and acknowledging the counter-argument.
If you can’t reach a calm middle ground to discuss the problem, it’s best to disengage and discuss it at another point when both of you have cooled off.
Make this clear, that you are only willing to discuss the problem if it’s done in a civil manner. Do this without being resentful or spiteful. Just mature.
Think about how you can be the better person in this situation. What can you do to diffuse the other person when tension builds? How can you make this situation mutually beneficial for you both, so it turns into a win-win situation?
Start thinking like this, instead of ‘how can I prove my point?’
What is the difference between an argument and a disagreement?
Arguments are not constructive while disagreements can be. Usually, there is anger and frustration involved in an argument. Often, the interaction is laced with hatred and resentment.
Children argue for supremacy, and adults discuss a resolution. Mature adults discuss without getting caught in the need to be right because they know that this does more damage than good.
In an argument, people tend to close their minds and block out information. There is no winning because everyone engaged in the argument blocks their ears and shouts their distorted and close-minded opinions at one another.
People get defensive because you are being offensive, or vice versa. This is obviously counterproductive as nothing gets through, and people feel like they haven’t expressed themselves because nothing they have said is acknowledged.
Instead of aiming to make a point, aim to resolve the issue. Aim to find a solution that is mutually beneficial for everyone involved. Be honest, but compassionate. Compromise on matters so everyone gets something out of the situation.
Acknowledge that the argument came up for a reason. Use this as a point to discuss and clear the energy. If there was no tension, the argument wouldn’t have come up in the first place.
During disagreements, people listen to one another and speak rationally. They will acknowledge each other’s opinions and integrate what they say.
During a disagreement, people will be aware of how the other person is feeling, and be careful to not cross lines or push boundaries. There will be respect in the discussion, and this does the interaction wonders.
When people can discuss an issue calmly, there is acknowledgment, understanding, and compassion in the interaction. Disagreements are healing and helpful rather than destructive and painful. Your conduct makes all the difference.
What is the best way to resolve an argument and come to a mutually beneficial conclusion?
Good communication is the best way to prevent and diffuse an argument. Come from a place of understanding and let the other person vent.
Give them the conversational spotlight and allow them to get everything they need to off their chest. By patiently listening, you are showing that you care about their feelings and opinions.
This will stop tension from building up later on. Make sure that you pay attention and don’t give the half-assed ‘uh hu’ nod. Give your full attention and acknowledge them. That’s what they want. Put the emphasis on making them feel better, and get away from your own petty needs for a moment.
You can state your point and opinions if the other person is open to listening to them. You can share your thoughts on the subject without accusing or blaming. If you both have maturity, you can disagree with one another respectfully, but this won’t escalate the disagreement because everyone has felt heard, and their opinions respected.
When speaking, don’t attack the other person. Speak about your problems from your perspective.
Turn it away from what they are doing wrong, to how you feel. This avoids blame and makes it easier for people to connect with you because you aren’t triggering their defenses. This also humanizes you and makes it easier for other people to understand you.
Some examples include:
|Incorrect way to say it
|Correct way to say it
|“You aren’t listening to what I say”
|“I feel like you aren’t hearing what i’m trying to say”
|“You don’t care about my opinions”
|“This is making me upset because I feel like my opinions and needs aren’t acknowledged”
|“This is unfair, you’re wrong”
|“What you said made me angry because I feel like this is unfair”
|“You were wrong, and you shouldn’t have done that!”
|“What you did really upset me”
|“Have you lost your mind? I didn’t do that, you’re making it up!”
|“I understand how you feel, but I honestly did not do that”
|“I literally have no idea what you’re talking about right now”
|“I’m not quite sure what you mean, but I’m listening to you”
How to avoid arguments and prevent them from escalating
There are two sides to every story. Everything is subjective, and you need to understand that. This means that with most topics in life, there is no objective answer, and everyone’s opinion is as valid as anyone else’s.
You might not end up seeing eye-to-eye, but the situation will always be diffused if you cooperate. Brute force and shoving your opinions down someone else throat is for fragile egos that can’t stand being wrong.
Many people will not hold the same views. This can exacerbate tension which escalates into arguments. Understanding that everyone’s opinion is valid is essential.
Allow them to speak. Without disrupting, calmly state your position on the agenda. Address things that get on your nerves early before they manifest into a problem.
You will discuss and debate by being fair to the other person and respecting their views. They will do the same. They will listen to you and speak their case as you will do to them. Don’t rush or hurry them, let them say everything that they need to.
Be present with the conversation and let it flow naturally until it starts to die off, and you both feel like everything is in the air, and has been discussed. Usually, there is a feeling of relief and calmness once everything has been discussed properly, and you come to a fair conclusion on the matter.
How to end an argument in a positive light by integrating, reflecting, and making up for it
Your outlook makes a world of difference. Self-observation is key to looking into yourself and pulling out the rotten gears. Unless you properly reflect and integrate everything that was said, the issue will keep floating back to the surface.
Don’t just bat away everything that was mentioned, otherwise, you’re back to square one. They mentioned these things about you because they are trying to help you in their own way. Acknowledge what they have said and start taking steps to implement changes in yourself.
They have illuminated some of your weak points. Believe it or not, they are doing you a service by bringing your attention to it, so you can fix these problems and better yourself. As soon as you get defensive and combat what they’re saying, again, you lose.
If you’re into personal development and want to make the most of yourself, you should thank them for this opportunity. By integrating everything and making the changes, will break the cycle and stop the same arguments from reoccurring.
Debriefing an argument to make sure it’s properly resolved and the issue won’t come back
After the fire has exhausted itself and both people have been given space to breathe, now comes the good part. The debrief is also known as making up. Unresolved arguments leave a heavy toll on everyone involved. Believe it or not, the problem won’t just go away without concluding it.
This is important to do after the dust has settled to wring out any negative residue and to close that chapter. If you don’t debrief, you leave the door open for it to happen again.
You should always revisit the topic at a later time when you have both cooled off. Apologise if you were in the wrong. Apologizing shows strength and maturity, and the other person will respect that.
After things have settled down, you need to strike up the topic with them in a very controlled, calm, and compassionate way. Ask them if they want to discuss what happened, and gently revisit the topic with the intention of orbiting their emotions. Set time aside to talk about it to make sure that the issue has been completely ironed out, and is never coming back.
It is important to talk about it afterwards and discuss why it happened, and how to move on peacefully and prevent it from happening again. This will clear a lot of negative energy, resentment, and anger, and allow things to return to normal.
If you’re someone who often gets into arguments and you don’t know why, start applying this information. Make the changes in yourself to understand and improve all of your social relationships.
Equipt with the knowledge in this article, you will now be able to effectively prevent arguments, handle them when they arise, and stop them from happening again.