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Sex + Relationships

How to Have a Healthy Argument (in any Relationship)

No matter how well you click with somebody, you’re bound to argue with them every now and then. We’re all complex humans with our own perspectives that shape how we live and think. Differing views are inevitable. Now contrary to what some of my passives might think, when conflict comes up, you shouldn’t shy away from it. Stop pushing down your dissatisfaction until you explode, and choose to face your disagreements head-on!

For many, the thought of an argument is scary because they associate it with intense emotion and conflict. Well, you don’t need to turn an argument into a fighting match. In those situations, often no one wins. There are some things you can do in your relationship to fight in positive ways where you can achieve goals and make positive changes for you both. Read some of the tips below (which apply to any and all relationships) to find out how!

Arguments are conversations

Contrary to what some people might think, arguments are not hate-fueled shouting matches. Arguments should be civil conversations started with the intention to solve problems. Avoid triggering language and start a dialogue. One way to ensure your arguments begins as a conversation is to first ask if now is a good time to converse about the issue. If not, schedule the time and talk at a normal level throughout.

Attack the problem

Don't go into any argument fuming angry yelling, “You always try and gaslight me!” In life, there is no "always" and we're all just human. Attack the current problem at hand and talk about how it made you personally feel. Then, using "I" statements, tell the other person how their actions affected you. Hear their responses and really listen so you can understand their side. Hopefully, they'll match your calm energy and give you the same attention. If not, give them a gentle reminder.

Share your perspectives and make this a conversation so you both can really reach a solution. Try to remember that in most of our close relationships, people are not intentionally trying to hurt your feelings, things just come out the wrong way or we are unaware of how we are acting.

Some don’ts:

DON'T use phrases like "always" or "never": As I mentioned earlier, people make mistakes, but they're not always in the wrong. Give them some credit and treat them with the same respect as you would yourself.

DON'T turn it into a shouting match: In these volatile situations, no one is listening. You both end up dumping your feelings onto one another without making any progress toward mitigating conflict. Remain calm, take deep breaths, and be civil.

DON'T attack the person's character: If you're reading this story, it's probably because you love the person you're arguing with and you want to be a healthier communicator for and with them. Once we know someone, it's easy to dig into their insecurities, but don't take it that far. You may accidentally say something you can never take back.

DO:

All of this being said, don't forget to stand up for yourself! If you feel you are in a bad situation, let that person go. Some people are impossible to argue with in a healthy way, and this is normally a sign they are not the person for you, and that’s ok. Some relationships aren't meant to be.

I hope these tips help you to be a healthier communicator in any and all of your relationships! Also, shoutout to my Psychology of Marriage class for the super helpful information.

Camryn Teder

South Carolina '22

Camryn is a media arts major at the University of South Carolina. She loves Gus Dapperton, indie films, and her two dachshunds Gretchen and Heidi. You can find her laughing with friends over coffee, listening to Lily Allen on repeat, or day dreaming about Chicago.
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