What are your best tips for winning an argument? Conflict is a fact of life, whether it’s arguing with your man, disagreeing with your parents or debating with your friends, but did you know that it’s your technique that wins the argument? While I wouldn’t recommend arguing with anyone without a valid point – and a clear idea of what you are hoping to achieve – here’s the top tips for winning an argument and clearing up the conflict. Give them a try!
Do you sulk? I can be notorious for preferring to keep my mouth shut and get on with things rather than face any conflict or criticism, but it does build up under the surface, and sooner or later everyone erupts. Burying your problems and feelings can lead to the end of relationships and friendships, and will often cause severe unhappiness. One of the best tips for winning an argument is to start the argument in the first place – speak up about what’s wrong, and give yourself the best chance of putting it right.
Women love to share. As soon as we need to talk something through, whether it’s an exciting opportunity or a nightmare situation, we turn to our friends to talk. It’s a great way to get support, and everyone knows a problem shared is a problem halved – but only if you share it with the right people. Your friends will be automatically biased both towards you and towards themselves, and it’s very difficult not to project your own issues onto someone who asked for help. Finding out the whole world now knows about your private issues isn’t great, either. Be careful who you share with, and make sure the people you trust are completely trustworthy.
Has someone just upset you? Our natural response to criticism is to lash out, and many people find themselves shouting if they feel upset. This isn’t the best response, though. Take a few minutes to breathe through what has been said, and think about it. If it’s a serious issue, going for a walk and giving yourself time to think without needing to respond can be hugely beneficial, too. When you do talk it out, either adopt a quiet tone of voice, or do it somewhere private. Arguing in a coffee shop or restaurant isn’t the best way to solve problems!
If you need to bring up an issue, make sure you choose your moment carefully. Avoid times when you and the other person might be feeling sad, angry or tired, and definitely avoid mentioning issues when you are drunk! None of these states of mind are ideal for problem solving, and the issue could grow hugely if you broach it at the wrong time. Calm, happy people find the best resolutions quickly.
Once you’ve thought about your problem, reframe it to be less accusatory. Blaming the other person will make them defensive, and less responsive to what you are saying. Swap phrases such as “you never” with “I’d love it if,” or “it would be helpful if.” This gives the other person chance to step up without feeling that they’ve done anything wrong. It’ll also make you calmer, and take the emotional pressure out of the situation.
Yep, this old chestnut. Discussions and arguments often start with one issue and develop through a list of problems. They are, when used correctly, a great way to clear the air and sort all the little problems you’ve got. But that means both parties need to listen and work on a resolution, and listening can be tough. Try to really take in and understand what the other person is saying. You’ll have a much better relationship if you can! (Although no-one will blame you if your mind wanders every now and again…)
Make sure you keep tabs on how you are feeling. If the argument is going round in circles, you are getting personal or you are feeling emotionally battered, end the argument and agree to pick it up at another time. If you aren’t making progress, you are just spinning your wheels – give the ground time to settle, and try again. You’ll find you can progress much quicker next time.
This might be one of the hardest tips for winning an argument – learning that it’s okay to be wrong! You might find that the issue is a non-event after all, or that you’ve had a communication error, or just that the other person is actually right. Don’t see arguments as wars to be won. Listen to points, accept the good ones and work on a way forward. If you can get past your issues and have a great relationship, everyone is a winner!
Of course, avoiding arguments in the first place should always be recommended, but it’s generally better to get things out into the open and work through them than keep your feelings and problems bottled up. If an argument is really off the cards, or if you can’t reach an agreement, try writing down how you feel in a letter or note. And don’t forget to share your tips for winning an argument with me, too!
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