When Disagreements Arise, Do You Know How to Fight Fairly?

Posted byCounseling WiseonJuly 22, 2019

No matter how level-headed we are, we will inevitably all get into disagreements from time to time. These arguments are part of life, and no one is immune.

Disagreements, when handled properly, have the potential to strengthen our relationships and make us better communicators. Disagreements handled poorly, however, can leave our loved ones feeling angry, hurt, and unappreciated.

The importance of learning to handle disagreements with grace cannot be overstated. Here’s how to fight fairly when disagreements arise.

Strategies for Fighting Fairly

While disagreements are very rarely planned or thought out ahead of time, you can have a general plan in mind for the next time you are faced with an argument.

Sometimes, we fight with loved ones, such as partners, friends, parents, or siblings. Other times, our disagreements may be with people we do not know or even like that well—bosses, coworkers, roommates, or neighbors.

Regardless of who the conflict is with, however, a few simple strategies can help keep the discussion civil and productive.

Have a clear purpose in mind

Know the potential endings before you ever begin. Can a formal disagreement with this person have any productive outcome? Is there a good chance a resolution can actually be reached? Will you and this person be able to strike a reasonable compromise? What is that compromise? Have a purpose in mind before your discussion starts.

Dedicate time for each person

For a fair a productive disagreement, each person must have an equal chance to speak and express their side of things. Keep the conversation civilized and balanced by allowing each person a turn to share their thoughts without fear of interruption or criticism.

Genuinely try to see the other perspective

Your disagreement will be much more effective if both parties try to see things from the other’s point of view. Try to actually listen to what is being said, and work to see the other perspective. Don’t go into the discussion assuming you are completely right and the other person is completely wrong.

Look for a compromise

Never forget that the purpose of your disagreement is to find a reasonable and workable solution. Neither party is likely going to get exactly what they want, so seek instead for a compromise. Try to find a solution that gives both parties some of what they are asking for while still being fair. 

Strategies to Avoid While Fighting Fairly

Learning what not to do in a disagreement can be as important as learning what to do. Just as there are strategies you will want to follow in order to fight fairly, there are also classic tactics to avoid.

Raising your voice

Yelling and screaming are very rarely effective strategies during a disagreement. Raising your voice and turning the conversation into a shouting match will get you nowhere. Instead, focus on remaining calm and taking turns speaking.

Fighting dirty

Disagreements are no time to throw around personal insults or attack irrelevant personal weaknesses. During the argument, stick to the issue at hand—not a mistake the person may have made years ago or a character flaw that plays no role in the current issue.

Exaggerating or generalizing

Try to avoid statements that paint an unrealistic picture. Exaggerated or overstated claims that use words like “never” and “always” are likely unfair and inaccurate, and using them will only cause the other person to get defensive and angry. Commit instead to speaking in true, realistic terms.

Learning to fight fairly takes time and practice. When disagreements arise, our natural instinct is to fight back and defend our stance at any cost—but this is not the most effective way.

The next time you find yourself in the midst of a disagreement, try implementing some of these strategies to reach a more pleasant outcome!

For more information on PTSD, click here to go to my PTSD Counseling page.

I am here to partner with you to transform your life. If you are ready to transform your life, please contact me to schedule a free 30-minute phone consultation.

About the Therapist

Gay A. Hunter, M.Div., LPC-S, is a licensed professional counselor who graduated from Brite Divinity School at TCU. She is committed to partner with you to transform your life. She owns a private practice in Fort Worth, TX. She specializes in online therapy. She is trained in Cognitive Processing Therapy for PTSD and Cognitive Behavioral Therapy. To find out more about Gay click here

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