Communication: How to avoid an argument

The cutest little argument.

“Most people do not listen with the intent to understand; they listen with the intent to reply.”

Stephen R. Covey, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People: Powerful Lessons in Personal Change

It’s is so easy to get seduced into an argument, especially when the subject that is being discussed, or the person you’re having the conversation with, matter a lot to you. There comes heat with being passionate about something or someone, and that is why it is important to stay grounded and try and avoid the conversation escalating into an argument. Once it has escalated you will not get the results you would like to have by starting, or participating, the conversation in the first place. So, I came up with some rules for a fertile and adult conversation.

  1. Listen This has got to be the obvious one that still is very hard to do. Especially when your mind is set already, it can be tricky to really listen to the other person and try and understand their beliefs. Instead, your just waiting until they say something you can react to with your great arguments. But if you want to avoid an argument, you have to start listening! When the other person talks, stop your mind from going on and on, and  focus on whats being said and let it process.
  2. Keep it about you Pointing fingers is never a good idea and even though you might not mean it that way, saying things like ”you always do this” or ”you are so that” are perfect ways to start a fight. If that is not your intention, maybe it’s a better idea to just keep the things you say about yourself. You can say that you feel some type of way about something, you think that this that and the other are the best ways to go, and so on. It will not only avoid an argument, it will also help the other person gain an understanding of how you experience things.
  3. Don’t raise your voice, raise your words When you are getting angry or frustrated don’t start raising your voice. This will only cause more friction and tension and will surely get the other person upset too. If you are trying to get to an agreement, and want to avoid an argument, instead of raising your voice you can try and raise your words. Take a deep breathe for a moment, think about what you are trying to say, and express it in a different way than you have done already. Use a different example, shed some other light on the situation, be creative with it and keep your calm.
  4. Know when to stop Sometimes it is just not going to happen at that moment. When you know the conversation is going left quick, and there is nothing anyone can do about it take the high road. There are conversations that will lead to fights evidently. And to avoid it turning into a huge argument, just get out while you still can.
  5. Keep the goal in mind In avoiding an argument and getting what you want out of the conversation, keep your goal in mind. If it’s an important meeting for a job, keep your career in mind. If it’s a conversation with your spouse, focus on the love you have for each other. What ever it is just keep in mind that you’re trying to gain something positive from the conversation your having. It is not a fight and there are no winners or losers by the end of it.

These were my five steps you can go through to avoid an argument. Keep in mind that arguments are also part of life and sometimes you just have to go through it. Therefore I want to end this post by saying that not all ”negative” emotions or events have to be avoided all the time. In these experiences we find our selves and learn about our buttons and what makes us tick. You can not grow and evolve as an individual if you never get angry or upset. In finding your balance dealing with every emotion, good AND bad, is the key to enlightenment. Once you recognize and release every emotion that is drifting your way you will find inner peace. So just live and keep on walking on your own path in your journey through life.

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Surya Tanya