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Your guide to winning in a fight

September 9, 2012

How to get your own way.

FEATURE

At times, relationships can feel like tight-ropes. Carefully, you have to shimmy along a thin line using your best skills to stay firmly on the right side of your partner. One false move and SNAP – you’ve upset the entire balance and you both fall blindly into the ugly side of a bust-up.

If, when you both fly into an argument, you always find yourself losing or caving into whatever demands or accusations are flung your way, use these tips to make sure your voice is heard. You never know, you might even get your own way next time that tight rope snaps.

Listen

When your partner accuses you of seeing your friends too much or not contributing enough to the house it can be really difficult to listen. Naturally you spring into the defensive, which means that you are suddenly incapable of listening to whatever the other person says. This is infuriating for you both and won’t help you to get your own way.

Instead, when you are accused of something or when you feel hurt by something your partner has said or done, take a deep breath and really listen to what they are saying to you. This way, you’ll be able to take on board what they are saying and build a strong counter-argument. Plus, by listening you might be able to understand their perspective a little easier which will help you both come to a solution.

Breathe

Arguments are always going to be heated and most of us see red when we come to blows with our partner. Yet, losing your temper doesn’t help you get your own way. It does in fact do the opposite. When you lose your temper you become irrational, erratic and inarticulate; all of the qualities that will disarm you in a fight and make you an easy target for your partner.

Instead, you need to take a few deep breaths and make a conscious effort not to raise your voice. When you shout, the situation quickly escalates and a small disagreement can turn into WWII within seconds. Remember, a controlled, quiet voice is far more powerful and staying calm will help you get your own way.

Evidence

If watching re-runs of Ally McBeal and Law & Order has taught us anything, it’s that every case is won with hard evidence. If you want to get your own way you need to have proof that you are in the right.

The next time your partner accuses you of spending too much money, be armed. Tell them about all of those times you worked overtime and about how you didn’t buy that great item you’d really wanted two weeks ago. Come up with examples of times you’ve saved money and gently point out that they have also splurged out as well. Being prepared with this kind of evidence and using it to back-up your point will help you get your own way next time you two come to blows.

Be realistic

There is no surer way to lose an argument than being unrealistic. If you wildly claim things that are clearly not true then your partner will simply laugh at you and this will give them ammo against you and your argument.

So, avoid saying things like ‘You are never here’, even though your partner lives with you. Instead, be realistic. If you don’t feel your partner sees you enough, tell them that ‘Although I see you in the evenings, we don’t actually spend proper time together after work. That’s why, when you go out at the weekend, I feel like I never see you’. Swapping generalisations for realisms will make your argument more solid and it will be difficult for your partner to argue back.

PEC

A good argument is all about the structure, yet when you’re in the middle of a crazy fight and insults are flying at you it can be very hard to get the structure right. Your thoughts become jumbled and excuses fly out of your mouth with no real sense or point. However, remember point two and breathe, then think of PEC.

This simple little structure will help you get your point across and help your partner to see your point of view. The P stands for point. The E stands for evidence, which you should use to back-up your point. Finally, the C stands for comment; this is where you explain what the point and the comment mean. So, using this structure if you wanted to explain that you are not a lazy slob you would say ‘I am not lazy’ (the point), ‘Yesterday I worked late so I could not do the dishes’ (the explanation), ‘So, I’m not actually lazy, my schedule is just a little busy and I can’t manage everything at the moment’ (the comment). Use PEC and you should always get what you want.

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