There is always on opportunity to reach an agreement in any conflict you have. This is true even if it seems that the perspectives of two people are absolutely different, that their interests do not align and that compromise does not seem likely to happen.
We found this article written by a family therapist, Svetlana Roys, which discusses the 11 golden rules to use when engaging in an argument. We think it’s well worth a look — it will help you understand your relationships better, whether it’s within your family, between you and your friends, or among work colleagues.
1. Remember to ’tune’ and adjust yourself before every discussion the way musical instruments are tuned and adjusted. Assume a stable position you feel comfortable in. Sit down or stand up to make sure you feel an inner sense of balance and calm. Speak like an adult — only say things you are absolutely certain about and which are important to you. Remember why you decided to enter this conversation. If there is the possibility that you’ll become emotional, find a spot in your surroundings that would represent stability and balance and come back to it when you feel the need.
2. When you start talking to a person that is very important to you, say this out loud, or inside your head: ’I started talking to you because I want to maintain meaningful contact with you, to be with you, and not because I want to fight’. Remember that A discussion or even an argument should not have the aim of winning a battle; rather, it’s meant to be a means to synchronize your position with that of someone important to you. When you are talking to a child, stay at their eye-level. At the end of the conversation don’t forget to say «I am with you».
3. People around us have a right not to believe us, not to love us, not to understand us and not agree with us — get over it. The truth is subjective. In every conversation, look for the truth that will unite the two of you, the truth that is behind all of the words you’re both saying. This is only possible when people remain in a calm state and draw energy from their inner sources of serenity.
4. Every person has a right to be imperfect, to make mistakes and have their own delusions. This does not give anybody else the right to disrespect them. Remember that you are also wrong sometimes. Allow yourself to grow. Respect for the other people in the conversation starts with respect for ourselves.
5. Everybody uses their own language, symbols and has their own level of responsiveness. Everything said and heard is filtered through our subjective experience and perception. Do not be afraid to ask for clarification. Give each person some time to «digest» the information you’ve provided. Say «I» instead of «you» more often (I feel, I am offended, I am angry, I think).
6. We project our thoughts on those we speak with. We project thoughts, feelings, unrealised desires onto others, and they project on to us, too. Learn how to recognise these projections and not let them affect you during a conversation.
7. We understand those who are on the same «frequency» as us extremely quickly. Use understandable language, but do not lower your «frequency». Rise to the level of the «more highly tuned» person, but do not lower yourself to the level of those who provoke you to «decrease» you frequency.
8. When talking to aggressive people, learn to recognise the moment when they go to far and it’s time to leave them behind. It’s no use taking this personally and getting offended — this will get you nowhere. Such people often hide behind general phrases and the «we» pronoun, and they try to find your most vulnerable spots. When you come into contact with passive-aggressive people, know that they like to talk behind your back and throw words at other people. When in conversation with them, make sure you express your feelings clearly. After contact with people like this you need to rest and recharge.
9. Do no start discussing the personal qualities of each other. Only talk about facts and events. Personal evaluation happens when you have nothing meaningful to add to a disagreement or discussion. If the dialogue still becomes a fight or an argument, and you are speaking on different frequencies, reach instead for your sense of humour.
10. The most important rule here is, probably, the aim to communicate with the «higher being» within the other person in a conversation. Build the dialogue on the basis of both your their maturity. Addressing this higher part of them helps avoid traumas, evaluations, provocations and stereotypical reactions. Mentally tell the other person: «I see you», «Your thoughts and your presence are important to me, even if I disagree».
11. Learn to end your disagreement/discussion with kind words — ’Thank you’ and ’See you soon’ or something similar. Any words which express genuine feelings are suitable in this conversation. Analyse past arguments and learn from previous experiences. A self-confident person calmly talks about their feelings and expectations, thanks their interlocutor for the attempt to make a genuine connection and willingness to engage in mature conversation, and knows how to accept and give compliments.
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