Arguments are an unavoidable part of life, and relationships – unfortunately, just because you know you’re right doesn’t mean everyone else feels the same way.
But although it can be hard to quell the urge to yell your point of view, it’s worth considering other, more effective tactics – as escalating the situation doesn’t help.
According to experts who spoke to phicklephilly, there are certain methods that ensure you win an argument every single time – and they don’t rely on covering your ears as the other person speaks.
1. Recognize that the point of an argument is to better understand the other side
According to marriage therapist Marissa Nelson, the goal of an argument is to leave with a “renewed sense of understanding of each others’ needs” – and not just to vent your frustrations.
As long as you and your partner are not arguing just to argue, the argument arose because you are not understanding each other.
But rather than blaming this on your partner’s inability to listen to anything you say, focus instead on the issue at hand.
And whatever you do, don’t attack your partner’s character in the process – as Nelson said arguments should never be a “character assassination.”
2. Ask questions to better understand the other perspective
Jay Sullivan, the author of “Simply Said: Communicating Better at Work and Beyond,” says asking questions is a fool-proof way of winning an argument, as it gives us a better understanding of our partner, rather than just relying on our own assumptions of how they are feeling.
And this questioning actually transforms the argument into a problem-solving discussion – so don’t forget to ask questions the next time your partner brings up your inability to put the toilet seat down.
3. Use direct language
Communication is also key in relationships and especially in arguments.
To ensure that your point isn’t getting lost amidst a mess of other unrelated grievances, use direct language, according to Susan Pease Gadoua, a couples therapist and co-author of “The New I Do, Reshaping Marriage for Sceptics, Realists, and Rebels.”
In order to do this successfully, you must tell the whole truth – because “until each person can admit where they truly are, they will never get their needs met or resolve the fight,” according to Susan.
As much as you wish your partner could read your mind, they can’t.
4. Avoid saying “but” or “however” after the other person tells their side
According to Sullivan, argument-winners avoid using “but” and “however” whenever possible during an argument, as it actually communicates to the other person that you don’t really care about their position.
He suggests using “and” instead, which sounds more positive and can add to the conversation rather than detract from it.
“I love you but…” does sound a lot worse than “I love you and… “
5. Monitor your tone of voice and body language
It can be difficult to keep a handle on your emotions and maintain a neutral manner, especially in a highly emotional situation.
But according to Nelson, monitoring these emotions is integral to winning an argument – as “it’s not just about what you say but how you say it.”
In order to keep your wits about you, take deep, slow breathes and speak with “intention.”
6. Listen, don’t persuade
Asking questions that begin with “why,” “what” and “how,” is also important, according to Sullivan, as it forces the other person to talk and you to listen.
And because the goal is to turn the argument into a productive discussion, listening and understanding the other person is necessary before a solution can be reached.
After all, conflicts are typically resolved with discussion, whereas “in an argument, the goal is to win, and too often, that results in two losers.”
By following this advice, you’ll actually win the argument – even if you are the only one that realises.
7. If you do say something out of line, apologise
“I’m sorry you feel that way” is not the same as a genuine apology – and argument-winners know that.
Holding yourself accountable for the things you say or do is important, and proves to the other side that you are taking the matter seriously.
If you do have something to apologise for, it is better to own up to it and say you are sorry.
And don’t worry if you and your partner argue – according to a study conducted by the University of Michigan, arguing can be good for your health.
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