How to have a discussion without fighting.

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Broaching a difficult topic can lead to all sorts of misunderstandings.

Key ideas

  • A discussion usually turns into an argument when we don’t express ourselves accurately or when we make assumptions about the other person’s motives.
  • When we take responsibility for our behaviour and verbalise our emotions honestly and without blame, issues can be resolved fairly and constructively.

7 things to consider before opening your mouth.

  1. What is my version of the problem? What is my partner’s version?
  2. What are my intentions? What impact could they have on my partner? How will they affect my partner?
  3. What do I know of my partners intentions? Has my partner actually expressed them, or have I just assumed them?
  4. In what way have I contributed to the problem? How has my partner contributed to it?
  5. What are my feelings? Is my partner responsible for them? Are they clouding my judgement?
  6. How is my pride affected by this conflict? What truth is there in the criticism that has been directed at me?
  7. What fair solutions can we envisage?

Focusing on your partner’s perceived intentions instead of your real emotions can lead to misunderstandings.