Conflict and arguments are an inevitable part of every relationship, whether it’s with your romantic partner, family member, or friend. 1 The way you navigate conflicts can make or break your relationship. 2 That’s why it’s essential to learn how to fight fair, ensuring that conflicts are resolved in a healthy and productive manner.
In this article, we’ll provide you with 8 practical tips to help you fight fair and promote understanding and growth in your relationship. For more in-depth advice on this topic, be sure to check out our ultimate guide to help you navigate and overcome the various challenges that arise in relationships.
8 tips to fight fair in your relationship
Conflict in relationships can often lead us to resort to unhealthy behavior. However, by learning to fight fair and maintaining respect even in heated moments, we can nurture healthier communication and understanding with our partners.
To help you resolve arguments quickly and positively, here are 8 practical tips on how to fight fair in your relationship.
1. Address the topic early on
Addressing conflicts early on can prevent them from escalating into bigger issues. When you notice a concern or disagreement, initiate an open and honest conversation with your partner. By addressing the topic early, you can nip conflicts in the bud and work towards resolution more effectively.
Addressing conflicts early on also prevents the build-up of resentment and frustration. If you’ve been bottling up your emotions, it’s highly likely that they’ll overflow when the issue is finally addressed. To prevent arguments from escalating into full-blown fights, address the topic early on and calmly express your concerns to your partner.
2. Practice active listening
Active listening is a powerful tool for effective communication, especially during conflicts. It involves giving your partner your full attention and trying to understand their perspective. 3 To listen actively, try repeating back what your partner said in your own words to show that you’ve heard them.
If you’re unsure that you’ve understood them, try saying something like: “So what I’m hearing is that you’re feeling frustrated because… Is that correct?” This shows your partner that you are listening and validates their feelings. It also gives them the opportunity to clarify or explain further if needed.
3. Avoid personal attacks
Personal attacks are a surefire way to make tensions worse and can damage your relationship in the long run. That’s why it’s important to focus on your own feelings rather than making assumptions or attacking your partner. The best way to do this is by using ‘I’ statements. 4
For example, instead of saying: “You never spend time with me,” you could say: “I’ve been feeling lonely lately; I’d love it if we could spend more quality time together.” This shows your partner that you’re feeling hurt or neglected without invalidating their feelings.
4. Avoid generalizations
During arguments with your partner, it’s important to avoid generalizations. Generalizations can escalate conflicts and hinder effective communication. They can lead to misunderstandings and make the disagreement worse.
Instead, focus on the specific issue at hand and express your feelings about it. For example, instead of saying, “You always ruin our plans,” say, “I feel disappointed when our plans change unexpectedly.” By avoiding generalizations, you keep the conversation focused, promote understanding, and create a more positive atmosphere for resolving conflicts.
5. Focus on the current subject
This goes hand in hand with avoiding generalizations. It’s crucial to maintain focus on the current subject at hand. While it’s tempting to bring up past grievances or unrelated matters that may feel relevant, doing so can derail the conversation and divert attention away from the current subject.
Stay committed to addressing one issue at a time and table other concerns for separate discussions. This way, you and your partner can work towards a resolution more effectively.
Looking for more practical tips? Check out our step-by-step guide on navigating conflicts in relationships.
6. Own up to your mistakes
Taking responsibility for your actions is crucial, and it’s essential to avoid making excuses or pointing fingers at others. When you accept ownership of your behavior, it demonstrates your awareness of how your actions affected your partner. It also shows that you’re committed to making things right. 5
A good way to show your partner that you’re taking responsibility is to apologize sincerely. If you need a little guidance on how to apologize, check out our practical guide to getting an apology right!
7. Try to put yourself in the other person’s shoes
Step into the other person’s shoes for a moment and imagine what it’s like to be in their position. This simple act of putting yourself in their shoes can lead to a deeper understanding and a more harmonious connection.
When you make an effort to see things from your partner’s perspective, it shows that you genuinely care about their feelings and experiences. It allows you to break down barriers and bridge the gap in communication. By understanding their point of view, you can find common ground and work towards mutually satisfying solutions.
So, how can you put yourself in their shoes? Start by actively listening and paying attention to their words and emotions. Try to imagine how you would feel if you were in their situation. Consider the factors that might be influencing their behavior or choices. By practicing empathy, you create a safe space for open dialogue where both of you can express yourselves without fear of judgment.
8. No violence or threats!
When conflicts arise, it’s crucial to remember that physical or emotional harm has no place in a healthy and loving partnership. Engaging in violence or manipulative behavior can cause irreparable damage to your relationship, eroding trust and emotional safety. It’s essential to find alternative ways to express your frustrations and resolve conflicts without resorting to harmful actions or words.
If you find that conflicts escalate to a point where violence or threats become a concern, it is crucial to seek help from a professional. There are resources available, such as couples therapy or counseling, that can provide guidance and support in navigating challenging situations.
Effective communication lies at the heart of fighting fair in relationships. To delve deeper into the topic and discover more ways to enhance communication in your relationship, be sure to explore our comprehensive guide on communication in relationships.
Secrets to a healthy relationship: Books every couple should read
It's no secret that a healthy relationship is key in a long-lasting and fulfilling relationship. This list of books about healthy relationships will help you learn how to communicate better, resolve conflict, and deepen your connection. From classic self-help books to more modern reads, these titles will give you the tools you need to build a strong and healthy relationship.
- Boundaries in Dating: How Healthy Choices Grow Healthy Relationships
- Love in Every Season: Understanding the Four Stages of Every Healthy Relationship
- Love More, Fight Less: Communication Skills Every Couple Needs: A Relationship Workbook for Couples
- Infidelity Recovery Workbook for Couples: Tools and Exercises to Rebuild Your Relationship
- Healthy Me, Healthy Us: Your Relationships Are Only as Strong as You Are
- ↑ Shantz, C. U. (1987). Conflict between children. Child Development, 58, 283–305.
- ↑ Byrne, M., Carr, A., & Clark, M. (2004). The efficacy of behavioral couples therapy and emotionally focused therapy for couple distress. Contemporary Family Therapy, 26(4), 361-387. doi.org
- ↑ Weger, H., Bell, G. C., Minei, E., & Robinson, M. J. (2014). The Relative Effectiveness of Active Listening in Initial Interactions. International Journal of Listening, 28(1), 13–31. doi.org doi.org
- ↑ Overall, N. C., & McNulty, J. K. (2017). What Type of Communication during Conflict is Beneficial for Intimate Relationships?. Current opinion in psychology, 13, 1–5. doi.org
- ↑ Lewis, J. T., Parra, G. R., & Cohen, R. M. (2015). Apologies in Close Relationships: A Review of Theory and Research. Journal of Family Theory and Review, 7(1), 47–61. doi.org