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Tips for Shifting Arguments to Conversations

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best way to deescalate a situation

It is a fact of life that we are not going to agree with everyone in our lives. People will always have different opinions, and that is not necessarily a bad thing. People with different perspectives can help broaden your worldview and help you see things in a new way. But there may be times when differing opinions can lead to difficult situations or arguments. 

Shifting To Conversations

If you want to learn how to de-escalate an argument and turn it into a conversation instead, there are some things to keep in mind:

Stay calm. This can be the most important part of avoiding an argument. If you are having a disagreement and you can feel tensions beginning to rise, check in with yourself. Are you feeling escalated as well? Take a moment to take a step back and take a breath. Meeting someone else’s angry energy with your own angry energy usually leads to a situation escalating without a way of finding common ground.

Try seeing it from their perspective. If you’ve had a disagreement with a friend, try to understand where they are coming from. Maybe you canceled plans a few times because you were feeling tired or overwhelmed. From your friend’s perspective, they may feel like you were being flaky or you don’t care about spending time with them. If they are feeling hurt, they may act out in anger. Rather than jumping to being defensive, listen to how they are feeling and imagine how you might feel in their situation. 

Help them feel heard. Listening to their side is a good first step, but to develop a relationship built on conversations rather than arguments, it is important for both parties to feel that they are being heard. Techniques like active listening and “I statements” can help with communication. For example, if they are telling you that they felt like you were ditching them when you canceled plans, active listening statements like: “I hear you saying that your feelings were hurt when I canceled last minute.”, help them feel that they are being heard. 

Be mindful of triggers. If you find yourself falling into the same arguments over and over again with family or friends, you may be stuck in a negative pattern. You know they are always going to say one thing, and they know you are always going to say another. Rather than continuing to fall into those patterns, be aware of what triggers you. If you need to have a conversation around a triggering topic, set some boundaries about how you will talk to and treat each other. 

Find a neutral party. If you’re finding that certain relationships are more prone to arguments, try including a neutral party in the conversation. This may be a friend, family member, counselor, or mediator. Having someone who does not have a side in the argument can help you stay on track and work to communicate more effectively. 

Journey Home Can Help

Journey Home is the perfect fit for teens who are ready to build upon skills learned in therapeutic settings but recognize they still need guidance and support to further develop their success. Journey Home blends a traditional home setting with positive peer and staff relationships. At Journey Home we believe in the value of good health and healthy hobbies, two crucial aspects of happy, successful adults.

Our goal is to help residents transition from structured residential programs to home. To do this we try to bring the best of both “worlds” – the continued clinical assistance of a program with the practical, real-life aspects of home. For more information please call (844) 597-8550.