When it comes to fighting in any relationship, whether it be romantic or platonic, many people seem to go wrong when they don’t “think before they speak.” There are a few scenarios that might be helpful to remember in times of struggle. It can easily turn a fight from weakening your relationship even more to strengthening it instead.
1. “Do what you want” versus “Let’s decide what to do together”
A lot of people like to take the passive-aggressive standpoint when they get into fights. It’s understandable to jump to a natural response, but it’s important to keep in mind that it may not always be the most beneficial answer. Passive-aggressiveness can confuse a person, make them feel indirectly offended (or directly) and disconnected from you. The resolution to this would be making a compromise and deciding together, which builds positivity in your relationship.
2. “You never help me” versus “I can’t manage without you”
Most of these scenarios involve unnecessary blame, and this one is a great example of that. Even if someone doesn’t help you, try and get that message across with a more positive tone. “I can’t manage without you” says that you want to work on building teamwork and a good partnership, instead of separating yourselves by accusing another person and pushing them further away than was originally intended.
3. “You did that on purpose” versus “I know it was an accident”
If someone slips and drops your favorite coffee mug from the cupboard and you get upset and blame them, they will jump to the defensive stance because they will feel like you are attacking them. It’s OK to be upset, but try not to spread the negativity to others who don’t deserve it. Instead, put the energy from your frustrations into empathy and understand that your friend would never purposely try and hurt you — and if they did, then they probably aren’t your friend after all.
4. “If you don’t go on a diet, you’ll never lose weight” versus “Losing weight is tough, but I know you can do it!”
This one is simple: be positive and motivational as often as you can! Sometimes one perspective of logic isn’t enough to push someone to do something, especially if it includes pessimistic and negative connotations such as “you’ll never lose weight.” Be enthusiastic, positive and encouraging, and you will push your friend from a place of love instead of a place of frustration or negative thinking.
5. “I told you that would happen” versus “Next time let’s try something else”
Putting someone at fault for not predicting the future is a bit ridiculous when you think about it, and it also can guilt someone into thinking they’ve messed up on something that can’t even be fixed at this point. Focus on moving forward instead of into the past, and avoid producing those unnecessary negative feelings of guilt that can easily cause a rift.
6. “You need to get more exercise” versus “Would you like to go on a walk with me?”
The first statement here is an accusatory one and can easily make a person jump to the defensive because they’re feeling attacked. Asking them to walk with you instead not only solves your concern that they’re not being healthy enough, but it can also help you bond together, and it sets yourself as a role model!
7. “We all face hardships at some point; be thankful you don’t have it worse” versus “I’m so sorry this happened to you”
While the world does come with a large scale of hardships on many different levels, it is rare that one person can experience them all. The fact that people are dying in a Third World country doesn’t mean that someone shouldn’t be allowed to feel frustrated over losing their expensive laptop. The body naturally will produce those emotions, and therefore it’s not something to guilt them over.
8. “You already said that” versus “It sounds like this is important to you”
Most of the time, if a person is repeating themselves, they are either really excited about something or simply can’t remember having said it before and it is truly an important thing for them to mention and/or say. They aren’t saying it to be annoying, and telling them they already said it won’t undo the fact that they’ve done so. Empathize with them and feel for their excitement or urgency.
9. “Why didn’t you quit your job sooner if you hated it so much?” versus “It sounds like you were going through hell”
A simple expression of sympathy or empathy is all someone really needs when they are ranting or venting about a hard time they went through. Questioning their hard time can make it less easy for a person move on with the issue as well.
10. “It’s OK” versus “I accept your apology”
So many people tell others that “it’s fine” or “it’s OK” when really it’s not. If someone apologizes and you aren’t ready to get over what happened, or really are hurt by what they have done, then don’t say “it’s OK” just for the sake of saying it. Saying, “I accept your apology” tells that person that you’re thankful that they understand what they did wrong, without telling them “it’s OK” as if they can just go ahead and do it again.