Learning to communicate and hold healthy boundaries is an important part of health. Successful relationships thrive with open and honest communication. Communication can be difficult enough but when we are angry, it becomes even harder.
Karen Cochrane, PhD who has used them in her practice for decades, shared these simple common-sense rules of fighting with me. These tips are helpful to keep in mind in all communication. The more I apply, the clearer communication becomes for everyone involved.
Maybe use a few in your next disagreement?
And remember to breathe.
15 Rules of Fair Fighting
1. No zapping:
No name calling, snide remarks, put downs, or negative facial expressions.
2. Don’t Interrupt:
Let the other person finish before you speak.
3. No cross complaining:
When the other person complains, don’t answer with a complaint.
4. No Bringing up the Past:
Do not use “always,” “never,” “should,” or “if only once you would.” Stick to the present here and now, not history.
5. Stick to the Issue:
Don’t distract from the issue and do not be distracted.
6. No Physical Violence Allowed!
7. Don’t play Psychologist.
Do not try to tell the other person what they are thinking or why they are doing something. Don’t make assumptions.
8. No Emotional Blackmail.
No threats! No fair using love as a punishment or as a weapon, “If you really loved me, you would….”
9. Don’t make speeches.
State your gripe and then let the other person answer. If your opponent states a point, you must respond to it before you can make a new one.
Answer Questions Directly.
A. State your gripe. Say it in the form of a positive request, not a demand. Report feelings, not just issues.
B. Suggest some Alternatives. Be willing to accept alternatives or meeting the person half way.
C. Look at the positive and negative consequences of each alternative.
D. Reach a solution. Instead of trying to “WIN” the argument, be confident you can reach a solution.
11. Own Your Own Problems, Feelings and Behaviors.
Use “I” messages, rather than “You….” “I really feel loved when I feel heard.” “I feel crazy when I have to put the lid on the toothpaste day after day.” “I feel frustrated when I….”
This takes practice but can become habitual with practice over time.
12. Time Out is OK.
If things get too heated, ask to continue the discussion another time.
13. Be Accepting.
Try to understand that both of you are different in the way that you see things and in your emotional reactions.
Make sure you heard the other person correctly – restate what you think you heard.
15. Be Willing to Listen.
Sometimes just listening to the other person helps the other person to get their feelings out- no need for arguing.
What do you think would happen if you used some of these tips in your life?
What would it feel like to be willing to listen?
As always, thank you for reading and sharing this post. If you know someone who can benefit, please pass this information along.
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