STOP ANY ARGUMENT in 3 Simple Steps
© 2004 Laurie Weiss, Ph.D.
Do you need to stop arguments? These three steps will turn
almost any argument into a productive discussion in less than five
Go to the bathroom. When you
are in the throes of an argument or difficult discussion, just
say, "I really want to have this conversation, but first,
please excuse me I must go to the bathroom." Interrupting
the argument will give each of you a chance to cool down and
collect your thoughts.
If you are on the
telephone, say "Excuse me for a moment, I have to handle
a call on the other line." If you are on a cell phone,
break the connection in the middle of one of your own
sentences. Call back a few minutes later and apologize for
being cut off.
Use your break time to
think. Decide what you really want to accomplish by turning
the argument into a discussion. Get very clear about your own
objectives. Return to the conversation, summarize the argument
so far, and then ask politely what the other person wants the
outcome of the conversation to be.
steps work because they give each of you a chance to think instead
of react to what has been happening. And neither of you needs to
lose face or look weak or act disrespectfully.
you think about your objectives, you may realize that they have
very little to do with what you've been saying. Often people argue
without really knowing what they want from each other.
you approach any conversation with your goal in mind, you are far
more likely to achieve it than you are in the heat of an argument.
When you ask others their goals, they too must think about what
they want to accomplish.
you learn what your someone else really wants, you may find it
very easy to acknowledge that and work together cooperatively to
achieve both of your goals. Depending upon the situation, you may
choose to share your own goal directly, or merely weave it into
When you create a productive discussion, you create mutual respect
and the opportunity for excellent future relationships.