25 Jul 2022

When it comes to arguments with your partner, are you playing fair? Here are eight expert tips to ensure that your conflict is constructive rather than destructive.

No relationship comes without conflict. But it’s not that you argue, but how you argue that matters. Here are eight expert tips to make your fights less destructive and more constructive. Because when you know better, you argue better!

1. Take a deep breath. Instead of rolling up your sleeves and diving into an argument head first, take a step back and a deep breath. Doing this can calm you down while also giving you a few moments to consider your goal.

2. Set aside time for conflict conversations. Sure, sometimes fights break out without warning. But you can also put a pause on them and pick a time that suits you both, preferably when you have the time to process everything.

3. Stick to the issue at hand. It can be tempting to keep bringing up old issues to use as ammunition for every argument. But issues need to be resolved and then moved on from so that you don’t get stuck in a negative cycle.

4. Be an active listener. This means really focussing on the conflict or conversation. Show your partner you hear them by repeating back what they say. This also ensures that you have understood so that there are no miscommunications.

5. Replace ‘you always’ with ‘I feel’. Fighting fair means not putting all the blame on bae. By starting sentences with ‘you always’ you are being accusatory. ‘I feel’, however, makes what you are trying to convey less aggressive.

6. Mind your verbal and body language. It’s not just the sarcasm and insults that should be left at the door. Your body language can also speak volumes. Put down (and turn off) your phone so that you can fully concentrate.

7. If necessary, take a break. No, not from the relationship but from the conversation. If you feel that you are on the verge of saying something you might regret, admit to it and step away until you have calmed down.

8. Remember – it’s not about winning. Many people think that they need to win an argument to be seen and respected. But you and your partner are on the same team so *real* winning is working together to find a middle ground.