I’m right, you’re wrong!
You always do this!
You never listen to me!
I don’t want to talk about it!
Do these sound familiar? In the middle of a heated argument, kindness and respect can quickly be replaced with blame and hurt.
It doesn’t have to be that way! Did you know that you can actually learn how to “argue well”?
3 Steps To Resolve An Argument
1. Establish a connection
This is the most important part. Without it, none of the other steps will work.
- Both parties need to understand that the most important thing is to identify the needs of each person and then seek strategies to fulfill those needs.
- Keep the conversation in the present.
- Avoid language that implies right or wrong and shame or blame
- Ask each other what is most important to each of you right now?
- Think about what you really want the other person to understand.
- Take a timeout if you need to. It can be as quick as getting a glass of water or it may be agreeing to come together again in a few hours to continue the discussion when you have both calmed down.
2. Understand your needs
- If you are struggling to express your needs, it can be helpful to think about how you are feeling and then uncover the needs beneath those feelings.
- Become aware of when either of you expresses a judgment, opinion or analysis. Switch back to figuring out what the underlying needs are.
- You might have to look for the other person’s need if they aren’t able to express it themselves. For example, if you ask your partner to talk about an issue in your relationship and they reply “I don’t want to talk about it”, they may have a need for reassurance that they are safe to express themselves honestly.
- Ensure that you truly understand each other’s needs. You can do this by saying: “I hear that you are saying you need…” or “I sense that you need…” Even if you have misunderstood, just reflecting words back helps you both stay connected and in touch with the core issue.
- This step takes as long as is necessary. Iit is only once you have truly understood each other’s needs that you can move on to the next step.
3. Explore ways to meet each other’s needs
- Using clear, positive language, discuss realistic actions that you could both take to meet each other’s needs. Use verbs - action words!
- Keep exploring and talking until you hit on the best actions for you both.
- The aim is to satisfy each other’s needs fully. If you just compromise, each person needs to give something up and that can lead to resentment.
Get Into The No-Fault Zone
If dealing with conflict like this is new or uncomfortable for you, The No-Fault Zone® Game can help.
It's one of the most effective tools to help people go through these 3 steps in a natural, unforced way. The No-Fault Zone® Game has helped thousands of couples improve their understanding of one another and resolve conflict.
The cards and mat guide you as you both discover and explore the feelings and needs in your specific situation.
While it helps you understand why you both say and do what you do, The No-Fault Zone® Game also enables you to get to the root of any issues quickly and clearly without blame or shame, and then find ways to meet both of your needs going ahead.
In any conflict, it is essential to let go of right and wrong. Instead, open your heart and mind to observing, listening and responding with the aim of staying connected to one another.
It takes practice, but don’t give up - change happens one conversation at a time!