Ten Ways to Head off a Fight
July 31, 2003
Top Ten Tips
- If you are on the receiving end of your mate's anger, resist the temptation to become defensive. If necessary, just shut up.
- Speak only to ask your mate to explain what you did that was upsetting and how it made him or her feel when you did it.
- Listen to the other person's point of view.
- Repeat back what your mate has told you.
- Ask if what you have repeated back accurately reflects what upset your mate.
- Repeat until your mate indicates that you have understood his or her point of view.
- Usually just understanding is sufficient to head off the storm. But if it is not, say the following: "You still seem upset, what can I say that would make you feel better?"
- If you are feeling attacked and criticized, say the following: "I know what I did was wrong, but it would really help for you to tell me what I can do differently in the future."
- Try to get your mate to reword the complaints or criticisms into positive suggestions for the future. For example: When mate says, "You never take me on dates anymore." You say: "I think you would like me to take you out on a date, more often, is that right?"
- Keep on practicing. It gets easier and easier to follow the above steps.
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Author of NY Times #1 bestseller Men Are from Mars, Women Are from Venus
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Pulitzer Prize winning author and Professor of Psychiatry at Harvard Medical School
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