I can’t tell you how many times I have heard absolutely TERRIBLE ways to stop an argument. It is not that the tips were generally terrible, but they were terrible for that particular couple. Couples have told me “I just need to take 10 seconds to breathe” or “A class taught me to separate or take a break.” I hear horror stories of how they could not take time to breathe because they were being yelled at by the other person. Sometimes I hear that the person DID try to take a break/separate but they were followed around by their partner just to continue arguing. After taking the time to listen to these couples, I found that they needed something different. If the tips you have heard in the past don’t seem to work, then keep reading. Here are 3 ways to immediately end an argument:
Three Ways to Immediately End and Argument
#1 Understand Then Validate
Stop defending yourself and telling your perspective for a bit. Listen to the details of what the other person is saying and what they want. Try to ignore any insults and read between the lines. If you can tell that your partner wants something from you or if they have a strong emotion, then validate it.
To validate it, say something like, “So you’re pissed at me because we didn’t go to the reunion like you wanted.” (For the record, you do not need to sound like a robot, just talk like you usually do). After, your partner will likely give you a clue that you have it right or wrong. They will feel free to continue speaking (and probably with less insults) after they feel like you understand them. Repeat this understanding and validation.
At a certain point, you will either have a realization that they were right or you will want to speak your perspective. If they had it right, genuinely apologize and say what you intend to do to correct the mistake. If you want to speak your perspective, you will be able to do so with less rage from your partner now.
Related Article: Read The Hidden Power of Apology.
#2 Realize Your Own Goal
Sometimes couples get so wrapped up in the meaninglessness of the argument that they do not realize their own goal. Check out the video “It is not about the nail.” The video is a funny metaphor for how we pay attention to the details or “the nail.” But, in actuality, the other person just wants to be understood. Instead of trying to fix the problem, try to reach a more amicable goal like understanding each other or expressing love again.
#3 Calm Down
In the middle of an argument, we can get really “ramped up”! Arguments tend to make people angry and say things that they do not mean. In order to keep your head on straight and say things you won’t regret, calm yourself. Do whatever you need to to stay calm. Sometimes it helps to realize what you love about the other person, and sometimes breathing exercises are actually helpful. Whatever fits for you, try your best to stay calm. The best outcomes will happen when you are not emotionally and physically ready to verbally assault each other.
To not mislead you, these tips will not immediately end the discussion, but they will end the argument. Instead of carrying on by yelling with no direction, you will now have a conversation with each other. This type of conversation will lead to mutual understanding and then an ultimate resolution.
About The Author
Chris Cummins is a couples specialist with The Marriage and Family Clinic. He specializes in couples who are in high conflict and couples who struggle to reach healthy lifestyle goals. Chris enjoys hiking, traveling, and spending time with his family.