6 Steps to Smart Arguing
I’ll admit it. I like to be right. No, correction, I LOVE to be right. And in my former, less evolved life, being right was top priority in my relationships – romantic, professional, familial and otherwise. Being right felt good! It felt powerful and validating. But it also felt very lonely and shame ridden. Being right too often had too many costs associated with it. After all, even if I won, he lost, which means we both lost. A zero-sum game.
So I stopped. I learned that for all the right I was doing, I had to do a lot of apologizing too. I learned that I can still value righteousness without always having to be right. I learned that there truly is no criteria by which two truths may be judged and others truth is just as valid as my truth. I learned that when I stopped needing to be right, I learned how often I was wrong and with that gained valuable new perspectives on life and love. But most of all, I learned that I’d rather have healthy relationships than be right all the time. As it is said, “it is lonely at the top.” I may have been right a lot, but I was sacrificing relationships. And nothing felt right about that. After all, isn’t being in a great relationship true winning? Absolutely.
The next time you find yourself foaming at the mouth over something your partner has said or done that you know just isn’t right, try the following steps:
1) TAKE 10… seconds that it is. Literally count them in your mind, slowly. Say nothing during this time and try your best to maintain a poker face. This 10 seconds will lower your fight or flight response so that you can balance emotions and logic.
2) Once in a calm state, weigh your options. Quickly assess what fighting to the death, compromising or giving in will each get you. Remember -being right often leads to feeling like crap later.
3) Consider the other’s truth. Abandon your truth for a moment and just consider that the other person may have be right – or perhaps maybe you are both right. How bad would that be? What consequences would you pay for agreeing with them, or sharing the “win”?
4) Measure your ego. Ask yourself what your motivation is in being right? How far will you go and why? Chances are it is more to do with stroking your ego than it is about convincing the other person your perspective would benefit them.
5) Communicate your opinion open-mindedly. No matter where you land – even if you have decided to fight this to the death, do so with grace. Make sure you acknowledge that the other person’s perspectives (no matter how crazy in your opinion) is valid. After all, you wouldn’t be in a relationship with him/her if they weren’t.
6) Set a mental time limit for how long is a reasonable amount of time to converse on the topic. If you have chosen the arguing path, decide ahead of time that after say, 2 minutes, you can end in an ‘agree-to-disagree’ position. Your relationship will thank you!
Here’s to prioritizing relationships over being right!
Live and love largely,