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This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at FIU chapter.

Negotiations and arguments are a part of people’s lives that are difficult to escape. They are almost guaranteed to happen because conflict is always around the corner. Knowing how to resolve issues, establish peace, and contain situations is what people should focus on when they find themselves in the middle of conflicts. Resolving the problem at hand is the key goal in any type of negotiation or argument. 

A common issue that most people face arises when they are negotiating with someone. They want the situation to go their way and they are sometimes unwilling to compromise. Stubbornness and pride are usually two factors that play into this type of conflict. In “Getting to Yes,” authors Roger Fisher and William Ury state that resentment from the opposing party is likely to evolve if the person exhibits these emotions. Acting this way can strain a relationship and this should be avoided completely.

Fisher and Ury note that during negotiations, some people use soft or hard positional bargaining. To use soft positional bargaining means to see the opposing party as friends and have the end goal be to come to an agreement. Those who use hard positional bargaining see others as adversaries and their end goal is to be victorious. Even though individuals will lean more towards one of these two positions, both of these should not be their preferred course of action.  

To ensure a peaceful negotiation, both parties present need to set people aside from the problem itself. They need to attack the problem and not each other. Also, the different interests that are presented need to be considered. The purpose of negotiations should not be to serve only one side’s interests. Furthermore, people need to gather multiple possibilities before taking action. There need to be several solutions that serve everyone’s interests from which people can choose. Finally, both parties involved need to make sure that the solution will be a fair one.

In negotiations, there are typically two sides that each have points they want to address, as well as an agreement they want to reach or benefits they want to win. The path to the best solutions stems from knowing the proper steps to take. Arguments or fights, on the other hand, can be very different. Negotiations can involve heated conversations too, but this is more commonly seen between couples, friends, family or coworkers who argue about topics like money, time, or responsibilities.

Ronald Alexander from Psychology Today comments that when people are arguing they are in a reactive state, and certain steps need to be followed through to the end before a problem can be dealt with peacefully. People’s goal should be to “stay centered and nonreactive,” and they can begin doing this by being mindful listeners. This means to be focused on the present and not “tune out” the other person. Being aware of body language, as well as listening to the words being spoken, is important too. The people conversing should take turns expressing what is bothering them. When it is their turn to speak, they should also communicate that they have listened to the other person’s concerns. Alexander informs that this is essential for preventing old behavior patterns from returning and following through with these suggestions can be a productive way of establishing healthier relationships.

Fighting with another individual does not have to end in stress and unresolved issues. As claimed by Pat Ladouceur from An American Addiction Centers Resource, regular conversations between all kinds of people can turn into tension-packed arguments within seconds. She believes that people should avoid raising their voices, providing evidence to what they are trying to prove, and not letting the conversation come to an end. To ease back into a civilized conversation, individuals may use phrases such as, “Let me think about that,” and “You may be right,” or “I understand.” The act of apologizing is probably one of the most difficult to do, yet Ladouceur claims it is a way of taking part of the responsibility. 

Resolving an argument does not mean that the individual will come out as the victor. Every now and then, the only way to resolve an argument is to call a truce. The problem can be revisited later on once the people involved have taken a moment to think. To communicate effectively, people should fully assess the situation they are in and they should evaluate which steps they will take moving forward. 

Andrea Leyva is a student at Florida International University, majoring in Communications. Her interests include learning about the behind the scenes of movies and tv shows, reading, and listening to music. She also enjoys hanging out with friends, watching plays, going to theme parks, and traveling. Andrea is very excited to share what she is passionate about through her articles!