Is there really a “right” way to have an argument?
“Massive, all-out fights are bad for you,” says Jonathan Alpert, a psychotherapist. “On the other hand, learning to have good conversations keeps your relationship healthy.”
Here’s how to actually benefit as a couple from an argument:
If you’re so upset that you can’t even think straight, much less keep your voice down, it’s not not a good time to have a conversation. You’re better off taking a step back, going into another room, going for a walk, or simply sitting down and breathing.
“It’s next to impossible to be logical, let alone empathetic, in a heightened state,” Alpert says.
Before you sit down to talk, Alpert recommends you ask yourself: “What do I want to accomplish here? Do I want to hurt my partner, or work toward a resolution?”
Your primary focus in an argument should be to find a beneficial solution to the issue at hand. In this way, you can listen more and be less reactionary.
Don’t criticize. Also, don’t over-generalize, such as using the words “always” or “never.”
Instead, be specific about particular positive actions you’d like to see happen. For example, instead of blasting your partner and saying something like, “You don’t want to help around the house because you’re selfish and only care about yourself!” say,”I’m feeling really overwhelmed, and it would mean so much to me if you’d help wash dishes after dinner.”
As the two of you talk, make sure to listen to your partner, Alpert says. This helps resolves dilemmas more fairly and encourages healthy relationships.