How To Stop An Argument In Its Tracks

How To Stop An Argument In Its Tracks
Sure, some people enjoy a feisty argument and a number of couples might even feel energized afterwards; it’s their modus operandi. However, many people cultivate peaceful relationships and feel uncomfortable during a heated disagreement with a spouse, friend or colleague. Also, many arguments often take a circular turn and keep on repeating the same points, only much louder. So how can you end an argument?

An argument needs two people to fuel the fire. One person screaming will eventually simmer down and feel spent. With that premise in mind you might cultivate a sense of inner balance to strengthen your core before the verbal blow hits you yielding to the opposing force as you redirect your opponent – an Aikido technique. Let’s call this inner resolve, the confident power within. Know that when you lose your temper, you lose yourself.

When arguing, aim to be fair and generous. There is a Zen saying, “The one who is good at shooting does not hit the center of the target.” When applied to a heated argument, this saying warns you not to verbally eviscerate your opponent with that wounding word. In other words, a “word said is never dead,” so be mindful of the point of no return.

6 Steps to Quickly End an Argument:
  • Relocate: Sometimes just moving the argument into another room changes the mood and energy.
  • Get into a relaxed state: Control your breathing by inhaling two counts through the nose and exhaling four counts through the nose. Think with each breath I now relax my heart.
  • Lower your voice: The tendency is to mirror the other person, so as the volume rises, you will be tempted to raise your voice which can trigger a shouting match. Instead go the opposite route, or be silent. Listen intently. Sometimes a person just wants to announce his reality.
  • Summarize your opponent’s argument: “If I understand you correctly…” First, you are validating the opposition which will placate your opponent. Second, you might be in the wrong having misunderstood the disagreement.
  • Postpone: Ask for time to process before you answer to remove the element of haste. This demonstrates patient consideration as well as validation. The heat of the moment can lead to extreme measures as opposed to equitable compromise.
  • Compromise: The problem with most arguments is the premise of “winner take all.” However, if there are no winners or losers, only compromise, then the angry conflict can transform into a relationship bridge.

For more information on managing your stress and reclaiming your life read my book, Addicted to Stress: A Woman's 7 Step Program to Reclaim Joy and Spontaneity in Life. To listen to archived radio shows with guest experts visit Turn On Your Inner Light Radio Show

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This content was written by Debbie Mandel. If you wish to use this content in any manner, you need written permission. Contact Debbie Mandel for details.