Let’s take our thoughts a little different direction today. I want you to take a moment to think about the last time you had an argument with someone special. What was the tipping point that caused you to lose your cool and really got the conversation heading in the “wrong direction?” Was it something that could have been prevented? Was it a simple misunderstanding?

Other Perspectives

Maybe someone did not consider the perspective of the other person. Example: I love dandelions and think they are beautiful flowers. Other people consider them weeds. This can be a cause of some serious conflict when it comes to yardwork!

Situational Context

Was the other person’s context considered? Did you think about how their previous conversations or interactions from earlier that day might have negatively affected them? Maybe previous conversations put them in a negative mindset.

Now What?

Okay, you’ve identified the tipping point that lead you to argue. And now, you’re beginning to investigate the cause of the tipping point. After some reflection, you probably realize that it was a little bit of everything that caused some conversational chaos. Am I right? So, now what do we do about it? And how can we make some adjustments so that it doesn’t happen so easily next time?

Emotional Cost of Arguing

Your argument was probably about something minor that you may have already forgotten. Unfortunately, the negative emotions that resulted from the argument might have lasting negative effects. It is possible that there may have been a benefit from the conversation, but realistically, the things gained from arguing were probably things like stress, worry, hurt feelings, sadness, anger, resentment, confusion, tears, etc. Was your argument worth all of these things??

Placing Blame

Were you or the other person placing blame? It is easy to place blame on another person instead of taking responsibility for our words and actions. It is easy to say that something needs to be someone’s fault. This is where hurt feelings can come into play. Do we really need to blame someone for whatever it is we’re arguing about? Does everything need to be the fault of someone?

Can we be stronger than placing blame and simply accept that a situation merely is. Situations can exist without something being someone’s fault. Example: If there is a misunderstanding, it could very well be the fault of one person or the other. Does placing blame or fault make things better? Is there any positive outcome from placing blame? Surely, the person who lacked clarity in communication is aware of the issues that stemmed from the poor communication and will, hopefully, do something a little differently next time.

Breathe

Breathe. Take a time-out for yourself to regain your composure so that you can address the concern with kind words. Be nice. Realize that words are powerful and they can leave a lasting impression on someone and can continue hurting (or helping) long after they are expressed. The instantaneous combustion of our frustrations can cause harm long after the conversation ends, so take some time and then use kind words that can help instead of harm.

SUMMARY

We strive to become the best we can, physically and mentally. This includes being kind to other people. Becoming the best we can also includes managing our moment-to-moment stress and finding situational coping strategies that can help us continue moving in the path of our goals without burning bridges and harming others along the way.