Many couples are spending more time together during the COVID-19 quarantine. This is a time that you are being given to get to know each other again and hopefully you are getting along. If you have kids the stress of homeschooling may be taking a toll on your relationship. Let’s be honest…you are probably having some unusual arguments and disagreements being all cooped up under one roof. Here are 5 tips to help you prevent arguments. These tips are all useful for any relationship in which disagreements may arise.
- Make sure it’s a good time to speak. Before even beginning a conversation that you feel may get heated or is a difficult conversation, make sure to ask the other person if this is a good time to speak. It is important in any relationship to make sure that when you are bringing up a tough topic, that you are ready to speak about it and the other person is also ready to speak. When someone is in a bad mood or having a tough day, these issues will only escalate and add fuel to the fire. Be sure to ask if it’s a good time. It may seem awkward at first, but it is important to ask the question.
- Learn to De-escalate the situation. This is a tactic used in many professions when dealing with someone who is losing control, acting erratic, irrational and not able to regain control of their emotions. The basic premise is that as the other person gets louder; you get quieter. When people argue, their anger, rage, and loudness escalate as the other person escalates. So, the best thing is to do the opposite of them. As someone becomes louder, you get quieter. Put your ego aside and mitigate the extent and duration of the argument by making the shift. Reduce using expletives and other hurtful words. Soften your language, both spoken and unspoken. Become aware of your facial expressions and your posture. Back up, aggressive body language will escalate the situation. Create space for the person to move around in. Relax your shoulders, stand firm, don’t make random or erratic movements. Keep your body loose but limit your movement. Become a focal point for the other person. They will become calmer in the process. When they have calmed down, ask if they are okay to continue the conversation. If not, resume it at another time when both parties are calm.
- Use Active Listening. The concept of active listening is great and improves communication between two people dramatically. The basic premise here is to listen first and then respond summarizing what the other person just said in your words. Use phrases like “I hear you saying that…” Then add a clarifying question at the end like “Have I heard you correctly?” If they say no you didn’t, ask them to clarify what you misheard or misstated. Use this back and forth and ask your partner to do the same. This will reduce the amount of miscommunication that is happening between the two of you. It also ensures that the other person feels heard.
- Manage your fixer. As a Life Coach we are taught to manage our fixer. What does this mean? It means to avoid fixing the other persons issue or problem by giving them the solution. This can also mean to avoid taking on the other persons issue. It is important to identify the other person’s issue and offer them support in fixing it themselves. Identify what your issues are and only fix your issues. Do not fix someone else’s for them. If you accept that they have their own issues to fix, then allow them to fix them on their own. If they refuse to work on fixing themselves, then you must be patient with them until they decide to this on their own or they ask you to help them.
- Create personal space. Recognize and give the other person space. Make sure to allow the other person the space to gather their thoughts and ideas. Not everyone is able to fully digest what someone is saying in the heat of an argument, they need time to step away from the situation before they respond. Sometimes the best way to get out of difficult argument is to leave and go to a space where you can think clearly. You must create the space that you need to gather your thoughts and respond with reason.
These tips will help you to improve the way you disagree with someone and hopefully reduce the escalated state of your arguments. Take the time to practice some of these techniques the next time you find yourself in an argument. If you need assistance with implementing these tips, then reach out to me at firstname.lastname@example.org or book a free introductory session at www.monarchlifecoaching.com/free-intro-session/
Be well and safe! Remember we are in this together!