By Keith Dorson, Win Win Fire Teams LLC.
Every argument has a different purpose, not all of them need to happen in the first place. Avoiding arguments is a skill, of knowing when to bend and not break, when to listen, and when to speak up. Many people enjoy starting arguments for the sport of it, which can cause unnecessary stress for the person forced into the argument. Respectfully let the other person know that either you do not have time or do not care to debate right then. Simply telling someone no will typically stop them.
We cannot avoid arguments in our lives, no matter how much we would like to. Whether it is the same old argument with your uncle Phil who will not let an age-old debate die quietly (and who feels like bringing it up at every family gathering) or whether a stranger decided you need to believe their opinion, some arguments just happen. The most important step is to be polite so as to not fuel the issue. Letting the person aware that you both understand and appreciate their opinion can aid in beginning to stop the discussion.
There are a few simple ways to make sure no one gets hurt during an argument and everyone walks away with a win-win solution. The thing to remember is to separate the argument from the person. This may sound like an odd concept, but it helps stop pointless personal attacks and helps maintain relationships, no matter how the argument ends up. For example, saying I have no time for this, rather than you are wasting my time, helps shift the blame off the other person. Focus on the principle behind what they are saying, rather than the actual problem they are addressing right then. This takes creative problem solving to look deeper into someone’s reasoning, but it is necessary for making sure arguments go over smoothly and end with a clear decision in mind.
Although some arguments are necessary and some are even fun, if an argument gets out of hand it can be destructive. Knowing when to avoid them, when to stop them and how to end them beneficially are needed skills for maintaining relationships and for surviving awkward social conflicts. No matter how an argument goes, it is important to keep the goal in mind to help continue building relationships and not burn any metaphorical bridges.
Keith R. Dorson can be reached at 480-890-0100, or by email at email@example.com or visit www.winwinfireteams.com.