Arguments and conflicts are frequently seen as a negative thing and a sign that a relationship is in trouble. However, it is crucial to understand the process of conflict, that can raise awareness of the perspectives and emotional needs of partners.
Additionally, arguments can increase energy levels sufficiently to motivate you to articulate your needs, hurt and frustration that accumulated long enough. Be that as it may, arguments are a double-edged sword, which can, if not handled properly, do more damage than good.
The very definition of argument implies a disagreement on a particular topic. So, how to stop an argument?
A disagreement does not, however, necessarily mean it has to escalate and turn into an aggressive stance. In fact, arguments can be very productive and low-key. They can often help you, and your chosen partner reach an understanding and from there a necessary consensus.
There are some tips on how to stop an argument before it escalates and turn it into a fruitful conversation that leads to the improvement of the relationship.
1. Master your emotions
During an argument, the only thing you can realistically control is your own emotions and behaviors.
Anger, guilt, and pride are overwhelming emotions which, if left unchecked will dominate the conversation and make you say things you ordinarily wouldn’t. When you notice things heating up, stop for a moment and take a deep breath. Ask for a five-minute break to clear your head.
Otherwise, you may find expanding the conflict to things from the past which can lead to the problem being exaggerated wildly.
If you are unable to calm yourself down to have a meaningful conversation, gently ask your partner to pursue this conversation some other time.
Propose another time to talk and try to be as specific as possible about the time you reschedule the discussion for. That creates an impression that the issue will be postponed but not buried. This can help your partner feel the topic matters to you too, as does the way you talk about it while helping you stop an argument.
2. No place for a competition
One of the most important pieces of advice on how to stop an argument is to stop competing with your spouse to win an argument.
Have you recognized trying to finish your partner’s sentences just to speed them up? Are you interrupting them while trying to prove your own point? When this occurs, you should pause and reflect on what has been said.
Every so often we listen only to be able to take our turn and say what we want. Alternatively, we should listen to really hear and appreciate the perspective of the other. Preferably, ask questions that will promote comprehension of where they are coming from as opposed to asking questions to prove your own point and win the argument.
If you are thinking about how to outwit your partner and present your angle as the right one, the conflict becomes destructive for the relationship.
Even if you win the argument, you still lose since your partner is now miserable and that reflects on the quality of the relationship.
During arguments, especially the ones with high stakes, you will likely try to arm with whatever firepower of counterarguments you have. In those instances, make your guiding thought be – it is not me against my partner or vice versa, it is us against the problem.
In many instances, it can be helpful when you say it out loud to move the conversation in a more promising direction. It can affect your partner’s participation in the contest too.
Phrasing the argument as something you are both fighting against is moving it from being a contest to being a teamwork activity.
3. The beginning sets the tone
Tapping into your emotions can come handy when wondering how to stop an argument.
In most cases, the way we handle the first five minutes of discussion will directly impact the structure and the duration of the rest of the conversation. Knowing you need to pay the most attention to your emotion for the first several minutes can help. Since the perception of the investment of energy is lower we are more likely to try it. This initial attitude and control help you overcome your compulsion to be combative and win at all cost.
It is always better to invest some time into the prelude for a constructive talk than a lot of time in feuding and long confrontation.
4. Choose your battles
How to stop an argument? Choose your battles wisely and let go of petty issues.
The partnership means sharing life with someone and inevitably you will run into things that annoy or even drive you crazy. When you wonder how to stop an argument, there is a critical question to ask yourself: “is this worth arguing about?”
Compile a list of things you genuinely care about, together with a list of things you can tolerate even if they bother you.
There is a limit as to how many things your partner, can change and work on improving at a certain period of time. Therefore, be as conscious as possible when choosing what really matters and focus on those items.
This should, in turn, lower the number of fights you have and stop many of them from developing.
Squabbling over minor things could deprive you of getting something important to you because your partner feels he already gave and changed too much.
Getting what you need from your partner is not just a matter of asking and receiving it immediately. What you want might require your partner to renounce something substantial to them and can take some time to implement the change.
Nevertheless, it requires time and effort to accept the compromise. How to stop arguments during that period?
Talk to your partner about a deadline and checkpoints to evaluate the effort. This should decrease the arguments as you are allowing for time to apply the change.
5. Express appreciation regularly
The appreciation that goes without saying, is a no-go if you want to have a happy and harmonic relationship. Nothing should be left unsaid because it is “obvious” we are grateful. People need to hear the words too.
If you are looking for ways to stop an argument, show your gratitude about the things your partner does for you on a daily basis.
Amidst millions of things that happen to us every day, we often forget recognizing the efforts our partner does for us, just because they are typical. Thanking your partner will acknowledge the acts of compassion, love, and selflessness he is showing.
In return, he will start doing the same, and you are likely to prevent the arguments from even happening.
6. Open communication is worth gold
Every so often we make efforts that go by unnoticed by our partners.
Every so often it happens, not because they didn’t want to acknowledge it, but because they didn’t recognize it as an effort done by us. We shouldn’t expect them to be aware of everything we do and sometimes we will have to point out the things we do.
For example, your efforts to have a rational and productive discussion could go unrecognized, which can cause frustration and a loss of will to invest more energy.
Be open and share with your partner what you do for your relationship that he might not be noticing. Mention the things you do and ask he pays attention and shows appreciation for it. This will work as a sure-fire way to stop an argument.
If we expect our partners to be mind readers, we will pay the price in hours of arguments.
Furthermore, expecting them to know what we need and want without communicating it to them can lead, not only to arguments but to a breakup too.
We might think they are not the partner for us because they don’t know or appreciate us enough, when in fact they are guessing in the dark what we essentially need and missing the target. That’s why resorting to presumption in a relationship is surely not an answer if you find yourself asking, “how to stop an argument?”
The safe way leading to many arguments is leaving it to our partners to guess what we need and want. One of the crucial tips on how to stop an argument is making an effort into as open and clear communication as you can achieve.