What Style Of Argument Do You Follow?
Choose which of the following statements applies to you: a) or b)
1 Arguments are
a) Damaging to relationships
2 When my partner seems glum, I try to
a) Cheer them up
b) Encourage them to talk
3 Differences of opinion should be
a) Smoothed over
4 When I am cross I need
a) My space;
b) To vent
5 When I’ve had a hard day
a) I don’t want to burden my partner; b) Tell them about it
Mostly ‘a’s suggests a tendency to avoid arguments, while mostly ‘b’s an inclination to confront them head-on.
While Epictetus said: ‘Silence is better than speech,’ evading conflict risks missing an opportunity for understanding. ‘Behind every complaint,’ said relationship counsellor John Gottman ‘is a deep personal longing.’
Feelings of resentment, guilt and anger are often expressions of unmet needs and expectations. Sometimes the best outcome of an argument is not to resolve differences but to hear, understand and respect how your wants and expectations differ. By exploring differences, and how balances can be struck, strengths in the relationship are built. Start the conversation.
Credit: Rebecca McGuire-Snieckus for The Guardian, 4 February 2018.