How To Argue So You Win

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arguing

Do you know how to argue with your partner so that you win, every time?

Win in love that is.

Win in a way that means you come through a disagreement feeling as connected and in love with your partner, as you did before you started fighting.

Do you even believe that’s possible?

I promise you it is, as long as you argue well.

Most of us don’t. Most of us argue in a way that is disrespectful and damaging to our relationships. It’s a pretty natural response to react badly to a disagreement. No one likes being upset by their partner or something they’ve done. It’s usual to see anger, hurt, tears, yelling, sulking, name calling and many other responses in an argument.

It’s absolutely normal, but hardly every useful.

How you argue can have a direct impact on the health of your relationship. And on you personally.

If you can argue well, you can be confident about being able to express yourself fully, vulnerably and honestly, and still know you will be loved, respected and valued.

If you can argue well, you can work through any issue and trust that the strength and safety of your relationship will remain, if not deepen.

But how do you argue well?

To answer that question, let’s look at what kind of an arguer you might be now.

Sulker

The name says it all. A ‘sulker’ will use passive aggressive behaviours like sulking, to make it well known that they’re angry or hurt and want to have it made up to them. No sulker sulks because they genuinely don’t want to talk any more or need space, a sulk is purposefully designed to get attention and force the other person to come forward first.

Attacker

The ‘attacker’ will pull out every weapon available to them in a fight. They’ll enlist your faults, flaw and inadequacies, sarcasm, name calling, accusations, threats, you name it, anything is on the table for an attacker when they’re arguing. They’ll go for the throat and make sure they dig the knife in as deep as they can.

Retreater

The ‘retreater’ backs away from an argument as soon as they can. Rather than push forward and stand their ground, they retreat and abscond. They’ll back right out of an argument to keep the peace. Walk away and act as if nothing ever happened. They hate conflict and would rather hide from the issues than deal with them. But while they might believe they’re keeping the peace, chances are they’re actually just leaving their partner feeling frustrated and unheard.

Dominator

For the ‘dominator’, their way is the only way and they must come out on top, no matter what. Their point of view is the only point of view and they’re always right. Their fighting style is to make sure you realise this too and they’ll bully, coerce and manipulate until you concede.

Victim

The ‘victim’ fights in a way that is often highly emotional. They’ll cry and shout and seem to be excessively upset about the argument that they’ve ended up in. But their display usually comes with a lack of genuine understanding of their part in the fight, or any desire to take responsibility for it. They’re more concerned about playing the part of being powerless, rather than actually attempting to resolve anything.

How To Argue Successfully

If any of the above are your current fighting style there’s no doubt that you’re doing damage to your relationship.

It’s not that you want to, you’re just doing what you’ve always done.

We learn how to approach conflict throughout our childhood and into our adult years. How our parents or other influential adult figures, argue influences how we argue. And the responses and reactions we receive over the years from our own attempts to raise any issues also affects how we argue going forward.

The good news is that you can choose to change how you approach conflict and improve not only your chances of resolving any differences, but also dramatically improve your relationship.

Stop fighting to win – when you aim to win a fight, you aim to make yourself right, and the other person wrong. Some people will go to any lengths to make this so. But if you can stop fighting to win, and instead learn to focus on trying to hear, understand and assimilate what ‘s really being said, you’ll have a better chance of ‘winning’.

Stick to the subject – don’t dive off and rehash every disagreement you’ve ever had, or bring up grievances you haven’t mentioned until now. All this does is muddy the waters and make it a lot harder to resolve the argument that was started in the first place.

Avoid being petty – don’t go for low blows or name calling. Doing so causes an instant defense from your partner’s side, making it harder to keep the lines of communication open. It can also, over time, damage the self esteem of someone you are meant to love.

Listen more than you speak – being open to actually hearing what your partner has to say gives you a much better chance of resolving your issue and coming away with a better understanding of who they are and what they want, which inevitably leads to more intimacy and a deeper love. You can’t go wrong with that!

Keep calm– try not to raise your voice or become aggressive with your tone and language. Maintain not only self respect, but also respect for your partner. No one ever felt good about being yelled at and you don’t want to be the person belittling your partner in that way.

Take responsibility – don’t blame your partner for your actions or behaviours, or for how things, that only you have control over, have turned out. Accept your role in the relationship and anything you may have done to contribute to the argument. It takes a much bigger person to say they made a mistake than it does to put the blame on someone else.

Be the solution, not the problem – set it in your mind that you want a positive outcome from any argument. Be the one to offer solutions or instigate ways to avoid whatever is causing the issues.

Decide to love – you can choose to consciously love your partner during an argument and it can everything about how you argue. Ask yourself, when you feel a fight brewing, ‘how do I want to be in this argument? How do I want to show up? Do I want to spiral into hate and upset, or do I want to consciously give love and honour my partner’? You’ll be surprised at how simply asking these questions alters your approach to an argument.

Move on – once the fight is over, move on. Don’t linger over what was said or what else you COULD have said. Make the decision to get over it. If you hold onto the argument it will always rear it’s ugly head again.

Arguing can be a healthy part of your relationship, if you make a conscious effort to argue well and let differences of opinion be a catalyst for discovery and growth, you win every time.

Do you have a tip for how to best handle conflict? Share in the comments below and tell us what you do to ‘win’ at arguing.

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