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How to Make an Argument Worse

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Article by Associated Counsellors

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How to Make an Argument Worse


On average, couples argue 7 times a day [1]. Some arguments are the same, and get repeated every time your mother in law comes around, whereas, others are about different things every time. Like the never ending heap of wet towels left at the end of the bed, the empty milk carton that gets left in the fridge, or the fact that the last person in the toilet didn’t replace the roll. Humour aside, some issues are much more serious, and are manifested in these trivial ways. According to Dr John Gottman, the founder of Gottman Therapy, failed repair attempts occur when little effort is made to de-escalate tension when it arises, and this is one of the major signs that predicts separation.


So, here are a few simple tips on how to avoid making an argument worse:


Tip 1. Don’t tell them to calm down

Firstly, when your partner brings up one of their concerns,  don’t tell them to calm down. This passively implies that they are overreacting, and also denies their actual feelings. Whether it’s your partner or not, people can’t help but become aggravated by this statement, and will, therefore, make any argument worse.


Tip 2. Don’t fake understanding

The next word of advice is don’t fake empathy; your partner will know. If your partner wants to discuss a problem and you don’t particularly feel like it, or you don’t think that it’s a problem, don’t pretend. By saying what you think they want to hear, just to get out of having the argument, you’re only delaying the inevitable. But, more importantly, this comes across as either: a. you don’t care about their concerns, or, b. you aren’t willing to put in the effort that’s required to address them.


Tip 3. Don’t tell them how they ‘should’ feel

Sometimes we ask partners or friends for their opinion on our emotions to helps us gain insight or perspective, but unless you have been asked, do not tell. People particularly hate being told how they should or shouldn’t feel. Doing this is a sure way to take any argument from zero to 100 - real quick.


Tip 4. Forgive and move on.

Sometimes the best course of action, is to simply give it up. Not all arguments need to be resolved, and learning the difference between something important and something trivial is imperative to this word of advice. If you’ve both apologised and agreed you’ll do your best to put the toilet seat down, or stop overfilling the bin, then don’t bring it up constantly. Not everyone’s perfect, even though sometimes we think we are! Give your partner the chance, and opportunity, to do the right thing by not expecting them to fail.


Think of arguments as opportunities for growth. When you’re in a relationship the idea of one party ‘winning’ is not possible. You either both win, and grow closer together, or you both lose and drift further apart.


Speaking to a couples counsellor can help you strengthen your relationship. To book a consultation call us on Tel: (02) 8002 1020


Written by Estelle Goarin for Associated Counsellors.


1. www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1389002/Fallout-Couples-argue-average-seven-times-day.html


8 Sep 2016

Last Update: 14 Sep 2016

Article/Information supplied by Associated Counsellors

Disclaimer - Any general advice given in any article should not be relied upon and should not be taken as a substitute for visiting a qualified medical Doctor.

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