Strategies to maintain your relationship during a heated discussion.
Have you ever felt yourself getting pretty heated in a discussion with a colleague or loved one? There are a lot of hot topics in the world to go around: politics, racial issues, religion, etc. Even pop culture phenoms like Beyoncé, Kanye West or the Kardashians can end up being pretty contentious topics when you’re sitting around breaking bread or enjoying a few cocktails. And sometimes having these provocative conversations can leave our partner or friend feeling a bit of ill-will or vice versa. But agreeing to disagree doesn’t mean that you have to end a relationship altogether. Here are some helpful strategies to maintain your relationship during a heated discussion.
Implement The Basics
In any discussion between adults there should be some real basic ground rules no matter what the topic at hand is. Refrain from name-calling and raising your voice no matter how contentious the discussion gets. If your goal is to get through the conversation at hand without damaging the relationship, following the golden rule of “treat others how you want to be treated” reigns supreme. Unfortunately, many couples find themselves traveling down a slippery slope of name calling and shouting which can lead to really hurtful words that you can never take back.
Will it matter a few days from now?
A friend of mine introduced me to this idea of asking yourself, “Will it matter a few days from now? What about a week from now?” as a good screening tool on whether or not to address certain issues in your relationship. I think this can also apply to these tough discussions we end up having with people in our lives. Imagine there’s a conversation about how Pluto is no longer considered a planet, will bring right matter to you a week from now? If not, it’s probably best to move on and limit your input in the conversation all together. However, if Pluto’s planet status has some immediate relevance to your life’s work, you may want to let yourself advocate for your position.
Winning & Losing
Whenever you get into some sort of heated discussion, at some point you’re likely going to find you and your verbal sparring partner have somehow devolved into just talking in circles. When the conversation hits that wall it’s important to stop and ask yourself,”Is winning this argument the most important thing right now?” If winning is what you’re after, it might be time to pause and take a break. Unfortunately, if you’re very competitive in nature, winning an argument might bode well for your self-esteem but not necessarily for the stability of your relationship.
Call a Time Out
Time outs aren’t just helpful for misbehaving little kids and sports, they’re good for really heated discussions too. When we are in the throes of a highly provocative conversation we may find ourselves being triggered and reminded of some past relationship issues or complicated deeper feelings.When you find that your body gets more and more tense and you’re unable to maintain that relaxed-assertive stance, it’s best to put the conversation to rest. If the issue is something that’s destined to linger between friends or in your relationship, then pick it back up later when you’re feeling a bit more balanced and rational. Taking a break will do wonders in maintaining the health of your relationship.
It can be incredibly difficult to maintain your cool once you find yourself in a heated discussion that you’re extremely passionate about. But, sometimes we can’t get too passionate in these moments and lose sight of the bigger picture; that we have a relationship that we would like to hold on to. With these few tips, I hope that you see that there is a way to win in every argument because ultimately it’s about being able to foster a relationship that tolerates healthy disagreement rather than just being right. If you choose to honor the relationship between you and your conversation partner above all else, you will win every argument, guaranteed.
This article originally appeared on Jor-El Caraballo
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