8 Tips for Fighting Fair
All relationships have some conflict. It only means you disagree about something, it doesn't have to mean you don't like each other! When you have a problem:
- Negotiate a time to talk about it. Don't have difficult conversations when you are very angry or tired. Ask, "When is a good time to talk about something that is bothering me?"
- Don't criticize. Attack the problem, not the other person. Open sensitive conversations with "I" statements; talk about how you struggle with the problem. Don't open with "you" statements; avoid blaming the other person for your thoughts and feelings. Healthy relationships don't blame.
- Stay with the topic. Don't use a current concern as a reason to jump into everything that bothers you. Healthy relationships don't use ammunition from the past to fuel the present.
- Say, "I'm sorry" when you're wrong. It goes a long way in making things right again. Healthy relationships can admit mistakes.
- Don't assume things. When we feel close to someone it's easy to think we know how he or she thinks and feels. We can be very wrong! Healthy relationships check things out.
- Take a time-out. If you want to yell and scream, take a time out to calm yourself down and come back to the conversation later.
- There may not be a resolved ending. Be prepared to compromise or to disagree about some things. Healthy relationships don't demand conformity or perfect agreement.
- Don't hold grudges. Healthy relationships don't hold on to past hurts and misunderstandings.
Adapted from Joyce Woodford, Counseling Services, Kansas State University