Seven Tips for Productive Arguing - URBANETTE: Lifestyle Magazine & Blog


Seven Tips for Productive Arguing

These could save your relationship.


Spice, as you all know, is the secret recipe to any good dish. A good amount of it brings out the flavor — the zing — that everyone wants to taste. Just like with food, a healthy and exciting relationship results from a good combination of variations. No matter how well a couple gets along, due to the differences in social and family backgrounds, you can expect to have conflict. But there’s a silver lining! Believe it or not, the differences, along with some amount of healthy fighting, can also bring couples closer to each other.

Seven Tips for Productive Arguing

Some of the personality differences may not come out during the early stages of the relationship. More often than not, we filter out what we don’t want to see. God knows, I’ve had my share of turning a blind eye! But as we get comfortable and become more intimate, even the seemingly trivial things could become valid reasons for arguments, leading to fights. Instead of avoiding conflict and argument, couples must learn to engage in smart fights.

Fighting is normal — what’s important is how the conflict is managed. The way a couple manages the conflict determines if they are headed for a breakup or not.

Seven Tips for Productive Arguing

In school, we’re trained on how to apply certain skills, but not how to succeed in relationships nor how to manage conflicts. This is something we need to teach ourselves – and it’s more important than anything we ever learned in school.

When partners learn to “fight well’’ – that is, fighting without determining a loser – they become happier and more secure in each other’s company. When conflict or disagreement sets in, we often find ourselves clueless as to how we should handle the situation without having to hurt each other’s feelings. Here are some ways we can make sure both parties leave unscathed when conflicts arise:

1. Love your opponent

Your “opponent” here is your partner. You may want to argue with him but that doesn’t mean you can’t be friendly with him. While expressing your opinions (maybe with matching hand gestures and all), remain considerate of his (or her) feelings. Be wary of the tone and volume of your voice. This way, you’re more likely to achieve a friendly discussion instead of a heated argument.

2. Speak up, and then shut up

Don’t make the mistake of holding the grudge as long as you can until stress builds up and explodes like a gigantic deadly bubble. Speak up, but keep your arguments short and sweet. Condense your bottom-line point to a short sentence. When you notice that both you and your partner are only blabbering over old issues, stop – it’s time to wave that white flag of friendliness.

Seven Tips for Productive Arguing

3.  Maintain respect

Name calling or blaming should not have any place in the argument. Asking your partner, “What’s wrong with you?”, or speaking in a condescending manner, won’t help resolve your argument. Attacking your mate even in an indirect verbal manner definitely won’t help  your relationship, since this type of discourse is disrespectful and arrogant.

4. Play while you fight

A good fight is actually within the couple’s play zone. You may be wrestling hard with your partner’s idea but when there’s the spirit of play, the argument is also a form of play that both engages you, allows you and your partner to have fun and fool around, and teaches you new ideas. A playful fight can even be a form of foreplay… remember Mr. and Mrs. Smith??

5. Argue with your partner in person

It is very important for a couple to read each other’s mind while fighting; try to understand what they’re feeling and see things from their perspective. The couple can only do this in relatively close proximity, when they can see each other’s eyes and (hopefully) read a thousand unspoken words from there. This is the same reason why “personal talks” are often discussed face to face, not over the phone or via emails and texts.

 6.  Bury the skeletons

Keep arguments short, direct, and within the issue. It’s not healthy to bring up the past, particularly the issues that have already been resolved. Only discuss the current issue that’s been bothering you. Digging up past hurts will not only emotionally overwhelm both of you but will also lead you away from what your are trying to resolve.

7. Don’t try to be the winner

Admit when you’re wrong, and suppress the instinct to prove you’re the “right” or “wronged” party. If you have a need to be seen as the winner, you’ll do so at the loss of the relationship. The best approach is to compromise or –especially in trivial matters– maybe admit you were wrong even if you don’t think you were (depending on the situation, of course), just to end the argument and make your partner feel heard.

  When you notice that both you and your partner are only blabbering over old issues, stop – it’s time to wave that white flag of friendliness.

Couples who learn how to manage conflicts grow more connected to each other. When couples create an environment where differences are respectfully expressed, understood, and accepted, then the bonds of trust and intimacy are strengthened. Some of these points may seem difficult in the heat of the moment, but just remember: Would you rather be right — or happy?

A writer, artist, and designer since she was young enough to put pencil to paper, Hilary taught herself code and created Urbanette when she was a teenager. Currently, she lives in Monte Carlo, but spent the past decade living in NYC, still considers herself a New Yorker, and visits regularly. She's always traveling, looking for hot new topics, destinations, and life hacks to bring to Urbanette readers.

Reader Discussion: 134 Comments

  1. Yolanda Tate

    It’s not important who is right or wrong, the important is you understand each other’s side. The relationship is more important than your pride.

  2. Cindy Nichols

    My boyfriend and I always fight. I know, sometimes, it’s annoying like when we will be at peace? The good thing is, even though we are fighting a lot, we still stick to each other’s arm and make love after that.

  3. Cheryl Reeves

    I like pissing off my boyfriend. He looks cute when he is pissed off at me. I know, it’s a sign of immaturity, but who cares? He loves me!

    • Eula Snyder

      It’s not funny, woman. Stop playing his feelings, and be mature.

  4. Ana Drake

    The important in every argument is respect and love. The two people who love, and respect each other will have a healthy argument, and their relationship will not be at risk.

  5. Katherine Turner

    If you’re in a relationship, and you break up over a small argument or fight, you were waiting for that to get you out of it. If you’re in love with someone you know damn well that fight, no matter how bad, isn’t resulting in a break up from the start.

  6. Ana Drake

    Grateful for having a relationship where we play with kids but don’t fight like kids.

  7. Toni Newton

    Don’t open up the past if you don’t want to prolong the fight. Giving life to past issues is not good. I hate that, and I assure you that you also hate that, right?

    • Abraham Watson

      Wow. A woman said that? I’m a bit impressed. You often do that than most men, you know?

  8. Harriet Baldwin

    One thing about me, I don’t give up easily. I will always fight to save my relationship. I let someone give me their heart my goal is not to break it, it’s to make it through the good, and bad times, and be in love and happy far into the future.

  9. Sherri Cohen

    I hate fighting over the phone. I mean, what’s the sense of that? You will never know if your partner is lying to you or not. If your man loves you, he will go to you no matter what.

  10. Dawn Wong

    Fighting is normal, what’s not normal is not fixing your relationship. If your partner argues with you, and don’t do anything to fix it, maybe your partner doesn’t love you anymore.

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