Stop Arguments Before They Start: 5 De-Escalation Techniques

Do you know how to stop arguments? Here are some therapist-approved methods

Conflicts and disagreements are a part of anyone’s life, and experts tell us that this is perfectly normal. Indeed, it can get unpleasant, but conflict is also constructive and can help you strengthen your relationships.

Unfortunately, most people don’t know how to address these situations properly and productively, and this is how conflicts might turn violent.

Working with emotions is hard, especially because they are contagious. If you have to deal with someone who is stressed, you will most likely pick up on their stress. This applies to any emotion, from anger to happiness.

But we’ll stick with anger for now, as this is the prime emotion that is born in a conflict. Anger causes a conflict to escalate further, and unresolved conflicts will lead to unbalanced relationships and dynamics.

Hopefully, if you learn how to manage anger, you will be able to stop arguments. These de-escalation techniques are scientifically proven, and you can learn how to use them in your day-to-day life right now!

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1. Active listening should be present

Most of the time, conflict starts because we all have different perspectives. We tend to fixate on the way we see the world and often dismiss what others have to say. This also applies the other way around. However, getting stuck in our narratives will only drag us down, and this is why we need to learn how to be more open-minded.

If you want to stop arguments and make them less intense, you’ll have to start practicing active listening and open communication. This strategy requires a genuine interest in understanding the other person’s experience.

Start by paying attention to both the verbal and non-verbal cues the person in front of you is giving. Show them that you are interested in what they have to say by using verbal affirmations. Tell them that you understand or use the classic “uh-huh.”

Try to know their emotions. Validate their feelings, and keep in mind that this doesn’t mean you are okay with their actions. It just shows them that you understand how they feel.

Lastly, learn about the power of “I” statements. Instead of using accusatory language, you will try to express your concerns by centering yourself. Saying “I feel hurt when…” instead of “You always make me feel…” is a great start.

2. Address conflict immediately

The secret to stopping arguments also lies in how rapidly you address them. Never let small issues transform into bigger ones that might lead to terrible conflicts.

Each time you sense a disagreement, talk with the ones involved and try to address the problem as soon as possible. We know how tempting it can be to ignore a seemingly minor issue, but believe us when we tell you that this is one of the best methods to stop arguments before they become something bigger.

Keep your perspective stable and try to lead a calm and rational conversation. It might be hard to do this in the heat of the moment, but in the long run, this is the most effective approach.

In the end, you’ll need to try to find common ground. Create a space that is open for communication, and let everybody say what bothers them. Early engagement is the best way to find a solution that works for all parties involved.

3. Stay cool

When you want to learn how to stop arguments, remember that trying to solve them in the heat of the moment will probably never work. This happens because strong emotions cloud our judgment, and during the conflict, these feelings tend to grow.

One of the main things you need to know when you want to stop arguments is awareness. Be aware of how you feel and why you feel that way. Being connected to your feelings is one of the best tools that aid in remaining calm during a conflictual interaction.

Before you start any conversation regarding the conflict, make sure to take a break and cool down a little bit. Engaging in conversation with a clear mind is always better than reacting out of anger.

Calling a temporary truce is not shameful, and it will be better for everyone involved this way. This break, or maybe more short breaks, is great at de-escalation and will let you collect your thoughts and get ready for a productive discussion.

stop arguments
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4. Try to involve a third-party

This might sound strange to some, but working with a third party when you want to stop arguments is a great method, and once you try it, it may not be that unusual. Actually, read on because maybe you already tried it.

A mediator is a person from the outside who is not involved in your conflict and can see things in an objective manner. They are unaffected by the emotional factors and act as a facilitator who tries to help both parties.

This mediator can create a safe space where all parties can speak comfortably and also feel heard and respected. This approach will de-escalate the tension, and this is why the risk of further arguments is greatly reduced.

Also, the fresh perspective of the mediator might help you find innovative solutions while addressing the needs of everyone involved. Most of the time, the mediator can be a mental health professional, and if you argue with your partner, you can try couples therapy.

5. Ask yourself why do you want to stop arguments

Many times we forget to ask ourselves this question, and we just rush to de-escalate and solve the conflict. But we don’t know why we want to do that. We don’t have any goals in mind, and this can lead to various problems and, in general, a lot of frustration.

Before diving into the solution, try to understand what your goal is. Pointing out the emotional issue within the relationship is the safest way to find a good resolution. To do this, you need to understand all the existing points of view and the root of the problem.

Every solution-oriented discussion should be based on a shared vision of what success means. Try to figure out what a successful outcome means for you and also for the person with whom you are in conflict. Working toward the same goal is the only way to achieve conflict resolution.

Addressing the underlying needs is a big one, especially considering that most conflicts stem from needs that are not met. Ask the other person what changes they want to see and how they think you can make this relationship work.

As conflict is an inevitable part of our lives, the skill of de-escalating is more than welcome. The ability to stop arguments before they transform into something that is not reparable anymore can be learned, and doing so will benefit you and those around you.

Want to learn how to manage conflict better in your romantic relationship? This book is all you need: Stop the Fight!: An Illustrated Guide for Couples: How to Break Free from the 12 Most Common Arguments and Build a Relationship That Lasts 

You should also read: 7 Shocking Signs You Might Be a Toxic Grandparent




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