Three Steps to Communicate Without Arguing
You may be argumentative or maybe you encounter people in your life who are. Either way, if you want to stop the arguments, here are some ideas to try.
Listen first, then talk.
Be curious about others. This will help you be more interested in what they have to say. Focus your attention on what they are saying, rather than concentrating on what you have to say. Keep in mind to listen and understand first.
Once you have listened rather than starting with your contrary point of view, begin by confirming what you heard. Something like, “I hear what you are saying” or “you make a good point, I hear you”. Show respect for the opinions of others. You do not have to agree, just hear them. Then you can make your views known in hopes of receiving the same respect. Don’t expect someone to change their point of view just by listening to you.
Pay attention to your feelings
If you notice that your feelings are activated, you may want to take a break. Once we are feeling irritated, insulted, frustrated, hurt or angry, we are not likely to engage in a rational discussion. Our emotions are likely to take over and we get off topic and get focused on the feelings. When you notice your feelings, it would be best to interrupt the discussion by changing the subject or even walking away. Once you walk away you can take some time to calm yourself by doing some self care, such as saying or doing something that will make you feel better. Once your feelings are taken care of you could try the conversation again.
Give what you want
Often when we are arguing, we just want to be heard and understood. If being heard and understood is important to you, try giving that first. Listen to others to understand what they are saying. Ask questions to clarify what they mean. Be curious about their ideas. Then share your ideas, let them know what you think. You may find they also want to hear you and understand you. We teach others how to treat us by how we treat them.
If you find yourself in too many arguments and are finding it hard to interrupt them, you may need some help from a Halifax counsellor. A counsellor can help you identify and manage your emotions and help you take steps towards more effective communication.