Conflict is normal and even natural in any healthy relationship. These discussions and disagreements are how we work through differences of opinion and learn together. That said, it isn’t always so simple to de-escalate conflict and avoid the anger and frustration that can arise during the conflict.
With that in mind, here are six tips on de-escalating conflict to come to more peaceful compromises from our friends over at mindbodygreen.
- Communicate your triggers and give each other space. If you find yourself in a heated argument, sometimes the best thing to do is give yourself a 10-minute break to cool down and collect yourself. When you come back together, share what it was your partner said that made you so inflamed so they can better understand your perspective and ask them to do the same.
- Do a mood check. Have something important you want to discuss with your partner? Before you launch in, test the waters and ask them if they are in a proper mental headspace to take in your words. If one person is feeling overwhelmed or burnt out, it could be better to save the discussion for another time when they have more bandwidth.
- Share your perspective, but acknowledge its limits. Vocalize what you’re feeling and thinking, but acknowledge that your perspective could be a different interpretation of events from what your partner experienced. Never assume what their emotions or perspective is, but rather ask for clarification to find common ground.
- Practice reflection. So often we launch into our next train of thought without pausing to take in what we just heard. Take a beat to really think about what your partner just said and ask them to do the same when you express your feelings. It’s completely okay to ask for a break to process what they just said and vice versa.
- Make understanding your priority. If you go into a discussion with the objective of winning, it will never be successful. See conflict as an opportunity to learn and grow together and truly make an effort to understand and empathize with their point of view.
- Don’t sweep it under the rug. Taking a break to pause and reflect is healthy, but perpetually pushing problems under the rug just creates a tripping hazard down the road. Stay in the moment and avoid grudges by speaking honestly.
It’s difficult to maintain a level head in heated conversations, but keeping these strategies in mind will help you come to a more peaceful resolution. Reading about solutions to de-escalate conflict is already a big step in the right direction when it comes to respectful discussions.