I think that learning to de-esalate a situation is a sign of growth and maturity. When I was younger I certainly used to “pop off” and say the first (and most hurtful) thing that was on my mind! I was trying to make my words CUT DEEP! As I’ve grown I’ve come to realize that, while it’s ok to get angry, sometimes we have a tendency to blow up a situation when it really doesn’t have to “go there”. Here are some tips on how to keep a cool head when faced with any type of disagreement.
1. Let It Marinate
If you feel the hurtful words rising up inside you, take a step back and let it marinate for a day, or at least the night. With spouses, the whole “don’t go to bed angry” idea is total CRAP! Go to your separate corners and SLEEP ON IT! Come back tomorrow well-rested and with a clear head.
2. Listen. Really, Listen
You know how, when you’re in an argument, the other person is talking and you’re thinking about your next snappy comeback? (YO MAMMA IS A …!) Don’t do that! Instead of thinking about what you will say next, how about REALLY paying attention to what your partner (or whomever) is saying? You might realize that the person really understands your point of view. Plus, you’re opponent might calm down on their anger when they realize you’re ACTUALLY listening to them!
3. Write It Down
I know some of you may think this is corny but it really does help to write out your thoughts. This way you avoid saying something you didn’t mean in the heat of the moment. Plus it allows the other person to take their time to read and absorb what you’ve written. So sit down and think , write out your thoughts, and be comforted by the fact that you got it all out on paper. That’s a great first step to solving the problem!
4. Be About the Solution
Ok, so you’ve been arguing about the same thing for days. When will it stop? When the darts come out and someone says something they can’t take back? Enough already! Most of the time we know what it’s going to take to make this situation go away. So do it! I’m not saying give up on your point and just give the other person what he/she wants. I’m saying to be committed to not always having to get the last word or reiterate a point you’ve made a thousand times already. Don’t beat a dead horse! Also, there’s no need to give the silent treatment and be passive aggressive. Think about what it would take to bring the argument to a close and only discuss solutions. If the other person still wants to argue, simply say, “I see that you’re angry so let’s discuss a solution when you’ve calmed down a bit. I’m open to hearing what you have to say so we can move on.”
5. Look At Yourself
At the end of the day you have to take a look at yourself and see what YOU are doing to fuel the fire in this situation. How’s your stance? What is your body language saying? Are you open to hearing ANYTHING right now? On the flip side, are you angry because you don’t stand up for yourself and recognize that your feelings and opinions are valid? Think back to how you handled your last argument. What could you have done differently? How could that situation have been resolved faster? More importantly, how did you FEEL afterwards? Are you constantly apologizing for your actions? Well try to ACT RIGHT from the beginning! We all have triggers but as adults, we need to get control over our emotions so we can release some of the anger we tend to internalize. It’s not healthy.
I’d love to hear how you de-escalate an argument. Please reply below…