iddle of an argument? Well, that’s the time it’s the most important, so the more you practice when you’re not arguing, the better you’ll be.
Start with the three basics: be present to what the other person is saying, pause before saying your piece, and be honest and kind. Or if you’re so angry you can’t be kind, at least be honest.
Most arguments are little more than two people delivering monologues to each other. Very little listening takes place; and changing this one dynamic can change everything. How can you listen and let the other person know you’re listening?
1. Paraphrase what they’ve just said, and begin with “What I heard you just say is…” You should be able to do this if you’ve been present to what they’re saying.
2. Check to see if you heard them correctly by saying something like, “Did I get that right?” If you didn’t get it right, ask them to clarify it for you.
3. Validate their experience, even if you don’t understand it. This one is confusing for people. You’re not saying that they are right, you are saying, “Given how you see the situation, I can understand you would feel the way you do.”
When it’s time to state your position, try these techniques.