13 Quick Ways to Stop Fighting

By: | January 16, 2015 | Tags:

boxing-158519_1280Are your siblings’ or children’s squabbles interfering with the quality of your life?

Are you living in a household with people whose religious faith differs from yours?

Do you and your partner disagree politically?  Does the upcoming presidential primary season signal a renewal in spirited battles to see each others side?

Here’s what inspired today’s post.  The Republic National Convention took place this week in San Diego, California.  The GOP has several battles on their hands.  They are fighting with each other and with the Democrats.

Agree on the rules:

  • Have a realistic goal.  Not fighting in the first place is often not realistic.  If this is the case, perhaps the goal should be to have a healthy discussion before the conversation gets out of control.
  • Agree on cues that signal the conversation is getting out of control for you.  In my post How to End Communication Problems Once and For All Part II I discussed counting to five silently. I explained this would give five beats to enable tensions to diffuse and ensure your partner had finished speaking.  You don’t want to add to his or her mounting aggravation by cutting off the person’s words.  Now I’m suggesting counting to five out loud.  This would be a verbal cue that you feel the conversation is turning into an argument.
  • You could even walk away.  This is a visual cue that tensions are mounting for you.  The two of you can return to the table when you are both calmer.
  • I do not allow the words “Shut up” in my home or in my classroom.  To quote an article I read on Pinterest, “‘Be quiet’ sounds ten times better.”
  • Do not play “The Blame Game”.  Work on solutions not what or who caused the friction.
  • Don’t expect the other person to change.  Look at the discussion as airing different views, not an attempt to effect long-term change in the other person.  In life you are supposed to “hope for the best, but expect the worst.”  That applies here.
  • Change the subject.  People often forget why they’re upset.
  • “Draw a line in the sand,” and agree not to talk about past events before a certain date.  This will end the resentment build up that occurs in longer relationships.  Agree to “draw a line in the sand” and start fresh.  What happened before no longer matters, for both of you.
  • No hurtful language of any kind.
  • Make house rules.  Clear, consistent rules work well.  For example, in my home, one of my rules is we criticize the behavior, not the person.  For this reason, I don’t let my children call each other names.  Case in point, one of my daughters tried to call another of my daughters “genius” with sarcasm and even “retard”.  Definitely not cool!  They may criticize the behavior that is upsetting them without criticizing the person.
  • Give your children equal time.  I once had a mom say to me that she doesn’t give her children equal time because she gave them siblings.  You don’t want to give your children cause for jealousy.  Have traditions with each of them if you don’t have regular time you can set aside.
  • Set a good example for the children.  If they see you and your spouse have a difference of opinion that didn’t turn into a fight, they will be able to emulate that behavior.  To quote a song title from the musical Into the Woods, Children Will Listen.
  • Reader choice–not mine!  When I interviewed 30 people about The 15 Secrets of Marital Longevity, two of them said to argue naked.  In all honesty, I’ve never tried it, but I can see it working.  If you felt self-conscious, you’d want to walk away or end the argument.  If you didn’t feel self-conscious, what started as an argument could turn into a love-making session.

If you feel any of these tips can help others, please share.

Readers, what “tricks” work in your home to stop bickering?  Have you ever tried any of these suggestions and can give feedback how they worked?  I look forward to your views.

  1. john doe | at 7:59 pm

    I think a really good when you left out was you can’t unring the bell. Once the words come out of your mouth you can’t take them back so when you’re fighting make sure that you don’t say something out of anger .Even if only 5% of it you meant, that’s the 5% that they will remember so always think before you talk

  2. Philippa | at 9:01 pm

    You hit the nail on the head when having a disagreement…no hurtful language of any kind. I have seen relationships with families and friends damaged beyond repair due to the use hurtful words. You must remember once the argument or disagreement is over, spoken words cannot be taken back.

  3. Snarky Momma With ( | at 9:36 pm

    HI Janice..Nice list.
    I always managed to avoid most arguments simply by asking myself if the issue would be important in a year. If the answer was no, I just shrugged and walked away from what ever the person annoying me was fussing about. In other words, “Don’t sweat the small stuff.”
    Of course, I once figured out the person who was annoying me wouldn’t be important to me in a years time, but it still worked. Lol.
    Good job!

    • Janice Wald | at 11:37 pm

      Hey Snarky,
      How was your week? As you can see from my delayed response, mine was busy. Thanks for the compliments, the ideas, and writing. Good to hear from you. Why did you decide to take the plunge and switch to WordPress? I love WordPress.
      Janice

  4. Chrissy Layton | at 8:13 am

    Or you could just do what my sister always did and say “don’t hate me because I’m beautiful” until the person arguing with you throws up their hands and quits rather than keep talking to you.

    • Janice Wald | at 11:23 pm

      Hi,
      I hate to disagree when you were so kind to read what I wrote and write me, but… I have been married to some really strong men. I would try that with Husband #2. Never worked. Very frustrating, if I had to work the next day, the fight would keep going. If someone has an agenda that they want to keep the fight going, they were going to see it through.
      However, one of my friends made a similar suggestion to yours in another one of my posts, so I’m in the minority! Thanks for reading my post and writing me.

      Janice

  5. Bethany. | at 11:43 am

    You have some really great ideas here. As I am preparing to get married this year, one of my mentors told me that in any argument I have with my fiance (or he has with me) that there is never a reason to be unkind. No matter what we are arguing about, neither of us should be unkind to the other person. And that has helped me immensely in my relationship. Great topic, and fabulous post!

  6. Alana Mautone ( | at 11:52 am

    My motto has been “don’t sweat the small stuff”. I also try to understand that the only person who you can truly influence is yourself. The last idea has me laughing – although meant for your spouse, maybe I’ll try it with some other family. (only kidding). That will stop things quickly as they run in horror!

  7. The Cold Texan | at 11:51 am

    Great tips! My family is loud and they like to talk over each other which then, of course, leads to misunderstandings. I love your tip about waiting 5 seconds at the very least to let the other person finish! One of the things that improved communication for me was a tip that my mentor gave me a few years back. He said whenever I didn’t get the response I was looking for, or someone rudely disagreed, to take a moment and think about what could be going on in their life to warrant that reaction to what I said. More than 95% of the time (approx.) I didn’t engage in the argument and left the conversation with a better understanding of the person.

    • Janice Wald | at 11:29 pm

      Hi Ashley,
      Thanks for the compliments.
      I wear my heart on my sleeve; I am very transparent. With me, what you see is what you get. However, my husband is quick to point out that not everyone is like that. If someone was moody around me, I’d take it personally. Then Wayne would remind me they could be going through stress and be preoccupied. Thinking about what goes on in their life helps me too now.
      Thanks for reading my post and writing me.
      Janice

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