Both women and men talk about having arguments with others. But few talk about problem solving with others. There are lots of articles and books on fair fighting, but I prefer to delete the phrase fair fighting and have people focus on problem solving and stop the fighting.
If when you have the urge to fight, you do any of these seven suggestions below, chances are better that the problem that is the focus of the argument could be improved. There is a big bonus to actually solving problems which is that once you solve one or two problems, a third or fourth often simply disappear.
- Reduce the emotional intensity keeping in mind that you can only reduce your own. But that will go a long way in taking the “heat” out of the dynamic.
- Tell the truth and identify the real problem. Keep the focus on solving only that problem and don’t get distracted ono other issues or the past.
- Don’t blame; instead look for solutions that are useful and beneficial to you and others. Remember, you lose more, both in the short-term and long-term, if the problem isn’t solved.
- Avoid those who suggest that the problem belongs to someone else or that you can take your time. It’s far better to solve problems when they are small versus extra-large.
- Stop focusing on aspects of the problem that are not under your control. Stop going in circles. Maintain your focus on the parts of the real problem that can be solved, that are under your control.
- Brainstorm a solution list (the silly and the great) and then choose a realistic solution. Remember solutions do not make every aspect of a problem disappear. Solutions take us in a better direction i.e. away from the larger aspects of the problem.
- Act on the realistic solution, after considering the consequences of that choice. Build in a time frame for using the solution and explore how to evaluate the solution. Continue with the solution as long as it is helping. When the solution is no longer helping, re-evaluate and start over again.
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