Conflict Management: How to Argue and Win

We all argue. We argue with our friends, family members, colleagues—and sometimes even strangers on the bus or in line at the store. Conflicts are an inevitable part of life and can be very healthy for a relationship. But if you find yourself arguing just to win or getting into heated arguments you can’t win, it’s time to learn how to argue effectively so that you can make your point without alienating everyone around you. Here are some ways to keep arguments from getting out of hand.

Stop trying to win

The first thing you can do is stop trying to win the argument. When we focus on winning, everyone loses. Instead of arguing for your point of view and defending yourself against attack, identify the “why” of the conversation. What are you trying to express? Are there feelings or ideas that need expression in this moment? If so, let them out! Remember: it’s not a competition; it’s just two people talking about something they care about with each other.

It helps when we remember who our partner is during an argument–this isn’t an adversary but rather someone who wants what’s best for us and has had their own experiences with similar situations that might help us figure out where we stand on something or even change our minds altogether! So don’t forget this important fact as well: do not treat anyone like an enemy during an argument because no one wins when they feel attacked by another person (especially if that person happens to be someone close).

Assume good intentions

The first step in arguing effectively is to assume good intentions. This means that even if you think your partner, friend or family member is wrong about something and wants to get you into trouble, try not to see them as maliciously trying to do so. Instead, ask yourself what might be going on for them that would lead them down this path?

This can help you realize that people are generally not out to get each other–they’re just trying their best at all times! And when we have this attitude towards others’ behavior (as well as our own), it makes us more likely to find solutions instead of creating more conflict by getting defensive or angry over how someone else acted towards us.

Notice your body language

You may not realize it, but your body language can say more than the words coming out of your mouth. When you are arguing with someone and they are trying to convince you of something, they will often use their hands and arms to emphasize their point. This is called kinesics; it’s a type of nonverbal communication that uses gestures or body movements to communicate messages.

In order for someone else’s argument to have any impact on you or change your mind about anything, they need both verbal and nonverbal cues as proof that what they’re saying is true (or at least worth considering). So if they’re making a good case but their kinesics are off-putting (for example: crossing arms over chest), then chances are good that even though we might agree with what they’re saying internally–we won’t outwardly show signs of acceptance until either 1) those particular behaviors stop happening 2) we see some other sign from them indicating acceptance (like nodding).

Don’t make things personal or attack character

This is the most important rule in conflict management. When you argue, don’t get caught up in attacking the other person’s character; instead, focus on the issue at hand and acknowledge that they have a valid point of view (even if it’s not your own). It can be tempting to make personal attacks when someone disagrees with you–after all, when someone challenges our ideas or opinions, we often feel attacked ourselves! But if you want to have an argument successfully without damaging relationships in the process, steer clear from any comments about their intelligence or personality traits like “you’re stupid” or “you’re always wrong.” Instead of saying these kinds of things out loud (or even thinking them!), try asking yourself questions like: What does this person want? How do I help them achieve it? What am I missing here?

In short, conflict is inevitable. We all enter relationships with our own baggage, preconceptions and expectations; but with a little work and effort, we can all learn how to be more considerate of one another. In the end, it’s worth it: when you have better communication skills and conflict resolution strategies in place, your relationships will be stronger than ever before.

To learn more about conflict management read this article.

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