How to Fight Right
Let’s say you’re fighting with your girlfriend and it’s starting to look like this is going to be a couch night. You don’t know how it got this bad. A second ago you were both talking like adults, and now you’re making sure she’s not within grabbing distance of the cutlery. What just happened?
1. You waited way too long
Fights fester. Problems do not go quiet into that good night, they find you and then put a shit load of pointy, shin-high furniture in your way as you try to get to the fridge in the dark. Don’t wait to talk about something that bothers you. Believe me, I know the pattern: someone does something, there’s a small skirmish, you decide it’s not “worth it,” and you both go off to be alone in a huff. You think you’re in the clear when suddenly at 11:38; it works its way back up. Instead of going to sleep, you two are having a huge fight because you’ve both been stewing for hours. What should’ve been a minor “Hey, can you close the cereal box?” becomes “Yea? Well, I always fake it in bed!”
2. Volume is not your friend
Shouting feels good. That’s because it’s primal, our caveman ancestors used to have to shout at saber tooth tigers to save their families. But you’re not fighting for your life; you’re fighting because you want to drink with the guys on a Tuesday. Take it down a notch, Mongo. People wonder how fights escalate and exactly 92.4% of the time it’s because someone tried to win not by being right, but by being louder.
3. This is not about winning
Which is really the main issue: arguments are not about winning; they’re about fixing problems. This is why people think screaming and waiting are good ideas. You can “win” by being louder and making them stop talking or maybe you can win the game by not playing, like when someone asks you to play Monopoly. When we fight we get emotional and forget the real goal: to actually move on.
Obviously, fights are a more complex beast and can’t be perfectly boiled down into three neat bullets. But, the main mistake people make is that they fight like they’re trying to win. This is not a game; it’s a relationship with a person you love. Don’t shout or dodge, try listening. Figure out what the real issue is, and work together to get it over with. Remember, relationships work best when you function as a team, and nobody scores when you’re all busy fighting about who left the microwave open.
Arguing should be about resolutions and moving forward, not digging in and getting ready for a siege.