Arguments in relationships cannot be avoided. This is not a license to pick fights or start arguments just for the sake of it. However, the ultimate question remains; how do you argue in a way that doesn’t seriously damage the relationship or your partner’s feelings or sense of self-worth? It’s easy to forget that it’s supposed to be you and this person against the world and so to avoid saying or doing things you would most likely regret, here are a few ways in which to argue respectfully.
Raising voices is easy for people to do when they’re angry, and it’s definitely not easy to stay calm while irate, but remember how it felt to be yelled at by that boss or by your mom? Yeah, that’s how your partner feels when you yell at them. It’s not a great feeling, and you still want your partner to feel loved and respected even when you do not agree on an issue. So, don’t shout or yell.
This may sound simplistic, but it is not. Listening means that you do not interrupt, you hear what your partner says, set your personal feelings aside, and effectively decode what your partner tries to communicate. Don’t listen with just the intent to reply, which is what a lot of us do even in normal, everyday conversations.
This might sound reductive because we’ve heard of walking away from any aggravating situation but if you feel like you need space at that moment, don’t just walk away. It triggers feelings of abandonment in some people and is honestly disrespectful. The best thing to do would be to inform them that you need some space, to calm down and process what has happened. When you’re calm, you can both have a serious discussion to hash it out.
In heated times, it’s easy to pick an accusatory tone with your partner, which might only serve to raise their hackles even more. So instead of using accusatory language, it would be best to say how their actions or words made you feel instead, rather than insinuate that they might have done something to hurt you on purpose. For instance, instead of “You’re pressuring me to…” try saying “I feel pressured to...” That way, your partner understands how you feel but doesn’t feel like they’re under attack. This could also mean that you both agree not to swear at each other while arguing.
Since each person is a product of their various environments/backgrounds, we all believe different things. This, however, does not mean that you and your partner cannot each meet somewhere in the middle during arguments. Compromise is a great way to make your partner feel comfortable, shows them that they matter to you and that you are considerate of their feelings. This doesn’t mean that you should compromise on your core values, that would entail changing who you are and that is not what we’re about.
For many people, winning is a big deal. They absolutely must win, even in a fight with their significant other. This is a great spirit to have in one’s business or career field, but in personal relationships, it just serves in alienating you from the ones you love most. Never be afraid to admit when you’re wrong and never hesitate to apologise. Also, apologise sincerely. Using words like “I’m sorry you feel like…” is not an apology instead you’re absolving yourself of responsibility and placing it on your partner
All in all, it’s not one-size-fits-all. People are different, and it’s important to communicate with your partner to find out what ways they feel disrespected when you argue or fight, that way, you can both set guidelines to help you argue more respectfully and grow together in the relationship.