Arguing happens. That’s the bottom line. We simply don’t always agree, and we sometimes must try to persuade one another to different ways of thinking.
Quite often though, problems arise when we try to do this. Not so much because we argue, but because we argue excessively, or because we don’t reach conclusions, or because we argue in hurtful, ineffective ways.
In order to do our relationships the LEAST amount of harm, here are a few things to keep in mind.
- People matter more than principles. No matter what you’re fighting for, it’s not worth winning if it comes at the expense of hurting someone you care about.
- There are good and bad occasions. Keep in mind that despite how necessary your argument/conversation may be, the timing of this talk will play a large role in the outcome.
- Results matter more than winning. In a lot of our arguments, we lose sight very quickly of what our end-goal is, and we become absorbed by the prospect of winning. This is very harmful.
- Stay on track. A lot of times, in order to persuade somebody during an argument, we try to make too many points at once, bringing up things from the past or making assumptions about another person’s motives. These things tend to derail arguments. Try to stay on track, and be aware of what leads you astray.
- DON’T BE DEFENSIVE. Should you happen to step out of line in any way during your argument, simply say I’m sorry. Don’t defend yourself. The quicker you can apologize, the more likely you are to move on towards a healthy outcome in your conversation.