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How to Resolve an Argument before It Turns into a Fight

It's all fun and games until someone's feelings get hurt. Follow these steps and keep both of your eyes.


  • Step 1: Practice breathing and relaxation exercises Practice breathing and relaxation exercises in anticipation of resolving a conflict. This skill will help you maintain your calm during an argument.
  • Step 2: Show that you're committed Let the other person know that you're committed to understanding them and resolving your differences.
  • TIP: A cooling-off period may be needed before you can talk to each other.
  • Step 3: Validate the other person's feelings Validate the other person's feelings by listening to them, repeating what they've said, and showing that you accept and respect their feelings.
  • Step 4: Ask questions Ask open-ended questions and encourage them to talk about their needs. Ask them what you can do to help them meet their needs.
  • Step 5: Express your needs and discuss the problems Express your needs so the other person is aware of them, and discuss the problems as you see them. Be honest about your role in where things went wrong.
  • TIP: Stay calm and control any anger you're feeling to avoid putting the other person on the defensive.
  • Step 6: Leave the past alone Don’t bring up past wrongs or a history of resentments. Focus only on the situation at hand.
  • Step 7: Work together on resolving the problem Show patience and willingness to make amends as you work with the other person to resolve the problem.
  • FACT: DID YOU KNOW? Preliminary results of a 17-year study of 192 married couples indicate that couples who argue live longer than those suffering in silence.

You Will Need

  • Breathing and relaxation exercises
  • Listening skills
  • Clearly stated needs
  • Honesty
  • Patience

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