Perhaps you had a few conversations in the past year you regret. Maybe your friend, neighbor, or family member went apocalyptic, and you matched the intensity. Rosalie Puiman, leadership coach and author of The Mindful Guide to Conflict Resolution, says that doesnât have to be the case. Here are her top tips on how to argue better and cope with conflict.
1. Drop Your Ego
âIf youâre having a tough discussion, especially around politicsâand you want to be constructiveâlet go of the old paradigm of winning and losing,â Puiman says. Donât argue to win, but rather to explore the intricacies of another personâs perspective. Shifting the narrative lowers the stakes.
2. Be Curious
âA great way in is to ask what the other personâs experiences have been. Be sincere, and share yours, too.â When you disclose something personal and make yourself vulnerable, it can make a divisive topic feel like less of a debate on moral mandates of right and wrong.
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3. Tap Into Unsaid Emotions
Polarizing issues can automatically trigger anxiety and defensiveness. âThe other person might be scared, angry, hurt, or they donât feel seen. Identify that and say: âWow, I sense so much pain in your words.â â Empathy can steer dialogue into neutral territory.
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4. Know When to Walk
Itâs okay to cut bait when things arenât going well. âSay, âI think weâre touching on subjects we absolutely disagree on, and I donât think itâs helpful to our relationship if we continue this.â â Changing the topic isnât copping out.