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De-escalate Conflicts Before They Get Ugly

Are you tired of the same old arguments? In many long-term relationships, certain phrases can jump-start a fight: these include, "you always," "you never," and "you should." Asking "why questions" can also trigger an argument because they come across as blaming, and the receiver’s defenses rise. Sometimes the triggers are non-verbal: you know when you get "the look," or the eye-roll, or your spouse starts walking away. So, one really effective strategy is to stop using these phrases, questions, and non-verbal behaviors. If you tend to use any of these: stop now, and you will see a positive difference.

Instead: try using an "I-statement" (instead of a "you-statement") to explain how your partner’s behavior affects you. For example, "When you do x, I get upset and I start thinking that you don’t care about me. I know that I react by getting defensive and I would rather work with you than against you."




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