The Most Important Question To Ask When Someone Says Something That Offends You

Before you go full steam ahead with your defense, pause to ask this.

couple arguing Mladen Mitrinovic / Shutterstock

Okay, you're in a heated argument with your partner and everything is going wrong. Speaking out of turn? Check. Misunderstandings running rampant? Double check.

During moments like this, it's all too easy to get defensive. However, when we do we can begin to lose our ability to guide the conversation in the right direction.

So, how do we lower our defensiveness when talking to our partners (or anyone else)?


Psychologist Dr. Aria Campbell Danesh shares the one thing to keep in mind when you start getting defensive.

The Most Important Question To Ask When Someone Says Something That Offends You

When you're arguing with your partner it's easy to jump to conclusions. And during moments like these, you likely will accuse your partner of saying things they never actually said.

However, before you react pause. Take a step back and be sure to check in with yourself. Dr. Danesh says, "As soon as you become triggered you're no longer seeing reality clearly."

@dr._aria If you relate to being the defensive person in this video, I need you to listen to this. Understanding this will help you have a closer relationship with your partner .. Comment the word ARIA to get direct access to my newsletter for more on relationships and healing.CC TikTok love.understood #relationshipadvice #relationshiptips #couplestok #couplegoals #relationships #healing #psychologisttips #relationshipadvice #breakups #datingadvice #datingtips #relationships #relationshiptruths #infidelity #cheating #datingadvice #dating #relationshipadvice #relationshipcoach #relationshipskills #communicationskills ♬ original sound- Dr. Aria

RELATED: 7 Ways To Stop Being Defensive When Someone Triggers You


Your emotions will cloud your ability to see reason. Moreover, when you're triggered your mind is unconsciously looking for ways to confirm your deepest fears.

"So, try asking yourself, "Is there any truth to what the person is saying," advises Dr. Danesh.

Ask yourself, "Is there even a sliver of truth to what this person is saying?" Likely, if there is any truth then your feelings of guilt will begin to rise to the surface.

This is why we become defensive — our brain is protecting us from experiencing further pain.

"It's incredibly hard but if you can begin to compassionately understand yourself better, then you're much more likely to have a healthy communication with your partner that will actually bring you closer together," says Danesh.


But great communication isn't easy to come by if you're already used to arguing and becoming defensive.

So, what can we do to improve how we communicate with our partners? Better Health Channel discusses a few ways.

Two Ways To Healthy Communicate With Your Partner During Conflict

1. Finding two key issues you agree on

When we are arguing we often try to discuss a load of problems all at once. But doing this usually takes away from what we are actually trying to do.

So, find two things that you can agree on. When we are able to agree on two things, we take the focus off the minor problems and focus more on the pressing problems.

This also helps us avoid going around in circles during an argument and gives us a clear goal to aim for when resolving conflict in our relationship.


RELATED: How To Stop Being Defensive In Your Relationship

2. Ask each other questions

Want to stop arguing? Figure out why it's happening in the first place. The best way to get there is by asking each other some questions.

Better Health Channel suggests asking:

  • What things cause issues between you and your partner? Is it because you're not listening to each other?
  • What brings you happiness and feelings of connection?
  • What causes you to feel disappointment and pain?
  • What don’t you talk about in your relationship and what prevents you from talking about it?
  • How would you like your communication to be different?

Ask each other these questions and jot down your answers. Do you notice any similarities or differences? Use these answers to steer the conversation the next time you conflict with your partner.

@withlovesabrinaflores how to deal with conflict & resolve conflict that keeps going in circles! This happened to me last night 🥴 bro im so tired hahahaah Keep working on the conflict resolution with your partners to keep your relationships healthy! The grind for healthier understanding never stops 🤧 #healthyrelationship #relationshiptips #relationshipadvice #conflictresolution ♬ original sound - Sabrina Flores

Listen, figuring out why you become defensive is not easy. But once you do, using tips like these will help you better communicate with your partner.

RELATED: 3 Steps To Stop Nagging & Defensiveness To Fix The Real Issue In Your Relationship


Marielisa Reyes is a writer with a bachelor's degree in psychology who covers self-help, relationships, career, and family topics.