|From Pastor DA Anderson:MINIMIZING ARGUMENTS BY MAXIMIZING YOUR COMMUNICATION SKILLS
by Dr. David AndersonHow do you minimize arguments without sweeping issues under the rug? is it possible to enter and exit conflict without damaging the other parties involved? Below you will discover eight ways to maximize your communication skills when you find yourself in contention with others.
I affectionately call these the “ABCs of Fighting Fair”:
A – ASK, DON’T ASSUME OR ACCUSE
When you assume or accuse it puts the other party in a defensive position. When you ask, it puts you in a posture of learning and gathering information. More importantly, it gives the other party an opportunity to explain what is behind their infraction which will, in turn, help you to be more empathetic in your assessment of their transgression.
B – 3B TEST
The 3B test is an internal thinking process of questions that you ask yourself before you speaking. Thinking about what we are going to say before we say it can prevent many problems and hours of “clean up” later. In the moment before you speak ask yourself, “Will it BLESS, BENEFIT, or BUILD UP the other party?”
If what you are about to say will not bless, benefit, or build up the other party, then put the brakes on and re-evaluate what and how you need to formulate or rephrase your words in a way that do. If you cannot rephrase the content in a 3B way, consider not saying it at all; which may be the hardest test of all!
C – CHOOSE YOUR BATTLES
When you are in a relationship that has frequent battles, it is important to figure out which battles are worth sparing I’ll feelings over. One of the ways to gauge whether to let something go or not is to ask yourself a series of questions:
-How big of a deal is this (offense/issue) to me?
D – DON’T CALL NAMES
Name calling only puts the other party down and won’t move the reconciliation process forward in a positive way at all. There is no upside to attaching negative names to an argument. The only purpose of name calling is to injure and doing so will make it harder for the other party to let the fight go. Names linger beyond the argument. People seldom remember fights but always remember how someone makes them feel.
E – EXCHANGE EXCLUSIVE LANGUAGE WITH MORE ACCURATE WORDS
Exclusive language like “always” and “never” are most likely untrue and belie the facts therefore the other party is tempted to get hung up on the facts about “always” and “never” and that shifts the center of the argument. To stay on topic, it is much better to use such terms as “often” instead of “always” and “seldom” instead of “never”.
F – FIGHT TO WIN THE RELATIONSHIP, NOT THE ARGUMENT, AND BE WILLING TO FORGIVE
Arguments come and go, but relationships are ongoing and take a lot of investment. You don’t want to lose a relationship because you were the world champion of arguing. Fights cause flights. We can push someone away from us through knit picking and battle weariness. Ongoing contention can wear down our relationship(s) and cause others to retreat into emotionally resigned corners of internal dialogue where they cease fighting and adopt a position of acquiescence. Some people are so battle weary, they exit the relationship altogether. They usually exit emotionally first before finally leaving physically.
Forgiveness invites others back into relationship and stems the tide of retreating, hence bringing reconciliation, connectedness, and warmth back to the relationship.
G – GIVE IN
When you are wrong, just admit it. Give in, and stop the madness.
H – HUMBLE YOURSELF
the hardest thing to do for some people is to power down instead of powering up. The ability to humble ourselves and speak words that implicate us, is not an easy task. But we can minimize arguments and maximize the authenticity of our relationships when we are not “always” right and when we can hone the humble habit of saying these three “relationship-saving” phrases:
1. “I am sorry”
Relationships are important to us all. Whether at home, work, school, or in social groups like church, sports teams or other gatherings, we can become more winsome, tolerable, likable, and flexible if we put into practice the ABCs of fighting fair.