Sunday, November 18, 2007

productive arguing

leaders from 22 governments gathered this past week in santiago, chile to increase awareness & concern for social issues and poverty in latin america, spain, and portugal while at the same time much of the region is experiencing economic growth. the meetings should have been productive, but they turned south when king juan carlos I of spain turned to venezuelan president hugo chavez and asked, "why don't you shut up?" king juan carlos' comment has been getting a lot of attention (good & bad) this week. when reading more about the incident, i was reminded of an article that i read (& made it a point to save) from the BBC some time ago on productive arguing that i'm going to share with you.

i couldn't agree more with each of these suggestions provided in this article. disagreements are going to arise from time-to-time; it's what you make of those disagreements that matter.

productive arguing

differences of opinion are normal and healthy in adult relationships and learning to compromise is a skill required in many areas of life. you might want to print out this page and pin it to your notice board to remind you both whenever a disagreement arises.

1. stick to the issue in hand - don't bring up previous misdemeanors or other things you've been meaning to say.

2. don't argue over trivia - for example, arguing whether it was monday or tuesday that you forgot the milk. the issue is you forgot, not which day it was.

3. start sentences with "i" - for example, "i felt annoyed when you..." rather than "you annoyed me when..." and "i would like to go out more often," not "we should go out more often."

4. don't use absolutes - never say "never", "always", "should" or "shouldn't". they're irritating and often inaccurate. for example, "you never wash up" will almost certainly get a response of "what about when...?"

5. let your opinions stand on their own merits - don't be tempted to bring in other people's opinions.

6. try to stay sitting down, relax your muscles and don't forget to breathe - it's much easier to stay calm if you're not pacing around the room.

7. don't start throwing abuse around - calling your partner lazy, fat or paranoid isn't going to convince them to see your point of view.

8. be aware of your feelings and tell your partner these as well - saying "i'm scared you don't love me anymore" is likely to get a better response than "you don't act like you love me."

9. try not to block the conversation - don't interrupt, launch into a monologue or expect them to be a mind-reader.

10. agree to a code word for time out - if one or both of you feels you're getting overheated it's best to take some time away from each other to calm down before going back to the disagreement.

remember, who wins the argument is irrelevant if your relationship loses something. always try to confront the issue - not each other.

No comments: