How to Fight Fair
By Brooke Burnett
If you’re in a relationship, single, or somewhere in between, we all fight. With our friends, with our family, and with our significant others. It’s healthy to disagree, but the way we communicate and express ourselves in these disagreements is very important. When shit hits the fan, and trust me it will, there’s a certain way to handle it without jeopardizing your relationship.
#1- Fight in person, never over the phone. Texts can be misinterpreted and nothing is worse than trying to explain yourself to someone over the phone. Wait until you can meet in person, tell them that you’re upset and what it’s about and say that you’ll talk it out when you meet up. Don’t waste negative energy on waiting for a text back. By the time you meet up, you’ll have cooled down and you can have a clear conversation about what went wrong.
#2- Sit down. In conflict, we usually have one of two responses- fight or flight. We get defensive and yell and scream to get our point across. Contrary, we run away from the conflict. We avoid conflict at all costs and sweep it under the rug and pretend we aren’t upset. If both of you are sitting down during an argument, the fighters are less likely to get worked up and the flighters have to stay put.
#3- Fight to understand, not to win. The anger I’ve mentioned comes when we feel like we aren’t being understood. If your partner or friend comes to you with something that bothered them, take the perspective to try and understand why they feel that way and not why they’re wrong. The same goes with accusations, we often use these to win and they are detrimental to healthy relationships. Saying words like always or never are used to win, not to understand, and these shouldn’t be used in conflict.
#4- Have clear expectations and communicate effectively. Your partner or friend can’t read minds so if they ask you what’s up, you better tell them. Nothing is worse than when you know something is wrong and when you ask they respond with “nothing, I’m fine” when you know damn well they aren’t fine. Be honest. Tell them what hurt you and what expectation wasn’t met, this is the only way things will get better, otherwise you’ll find yourself in this same argument next week. When you ask them if something is up, you should expect the same in return.
#5- Don’t bring up old arguments or open old wounds. This will escalate things and only make your partner or friend defensive and therefore angry. If you’ve already addressed it, move on. If what you’re arguing about something that’s a pattern in the relationship, talk about what expectations you have for the future. Nothing is worse than arguing with your SO and they use an old mistake against you. Arguing about the subject at hand is how you fight fair. If you bring up multiple or old problems, you’ll make this disagreement seem way bigger than it is.
That’s all I have for ya. Remember these rules and if your SO or friend refuses to abide by them, this is a red flag and should be dealt with like so. Relational abuse stems from arguments and if your partner doesn’t fight fair, maybe it’s time to ask for help. You can contact any of us here at NB for advice, but remember, fighting fair is necessary. Arguments are completely natural and it’s okay to mess up sometimes, as long as these guidelines are a mutual understanding between both of you. Fight on my friends.