The way you handle arguments in your relationships is very important to your productivity. Fighting can drain you, distract you, and keep you from doing the things you want to do. This is especially true of your romantic relationship. Fighting with the person who you spend the most time with, share big decisions with, and have an intimate relationship with, will have a huge impact on how productive you are or are not.
The Right Habits For Arguing Will Affect Relationships And Productivity In A Big Way
You need to develop strong habits that produce healthier arguments. These habits help you keep your relationships running as smoothly as possible. That will allow you to stay productive in other areas of your life instead of wasting all your time doing unproductive things, such as arguing or thinking about an argument you had.
Your quality of life can really get bad when you don’t have good habits for arguing.
For example, I know one couple who are in a constant state of arguing. How productive do you think they are? If you guessed – not very, you are right. They can never get anything done because they are always upset with each other and feeling down, stressed, and even depressed. Their relationship is not supporting their happiness, but detracting from it, and they almost don’t have any desire – or energy – to do things that need to be done. They have both lost their jobs and they are not actively looking for new jobs. And, they no longer pursue the things they used to enjoy, such as certain hobbies that brought joy. Neither of them is working on personal development in any shape or form. It’s like they are suspended in this space of nothingness where they argue, eat, sleep, and repeat.
Obviously they are extreme, but they are a great example of how arguing can affect your productivity. They’ve been fighting poorly for over 10 years, and it’s taken its toll in a big way.
Healthier Arguments Are So Important To Your Productivity
Every productivity tip you will ever find is affected negatively by fighting in a relationship. There’s not one area of your life that will be untouched by hurt feelings, anger, blame and stress.
Because arguing happens from time to time in any relationship, it will benefit everyone to develop some habits that ensure your arguments are not just rants but, instead, are productive sessions that end in some sort of resolution or compromise.
Moreover, your goal should be to try and reduce the number of arguments you have and ensure that the impact they have on the relationship isn’t going to affect things long-term.
I know that ‘productive arguments’ can be hard to think about when your emotions are high, but the more you consciously decide on healthier habits, such as to come to a compromise of some sort, the easier it will be to calm down and avoid wasting tons of time on needless arguing, anger, and hurt.
Following are some habits that can help you fight fair, compromise, and resolve issues completely.
6 Habits For Healthier Arguments
View your arguments as something that will help you understand each other better and relate to each other better. If you do, then you will start to easily develop the following habits and use them when you feel the urge to really fight in a bad way.
Habit 1: Fight In Private ONLY
Do you have kids? Some experts believe that fighting in front of your kids is child abuse because it can scar them emotionally. Why? Because they don’t understand the underlying reasons for the fighting, and they can easily take the blame in a fight or put a lot of stress on themselves. And, ultimately they have no control over the fight in the end.
The same can be said for your friends, family members, or co-workers. They may feel the need to take on your problems when you fight in front of them, but they have no control over your problems and, because they have no power to do anything to help you, that puts a lot of stress on them.
So, fighting with someone in public affects more than just your relationship with them. It affects your relationship with all who see your fight.
Fighting In Public Adds Fuel To The Fight
Fighting in public can add fuel to your fight. You may want to appear ‘right’ in front of people, so you say hurtful things that don’t need to be said just so you can win the fight. All that really does is add more conflict in the relationship and cause you to feel regretful later on.
Fighting behind closed doors:
- Allows you to avoid embarrassed friends, family, or strangers who don’t necessarily want to be involved in your fights.
- Allows you to avoid saying things just to make a better case for yourself in front of others.
- Helps you to avoid hurt feelings that will linger for a long time to come.
- Allows you to fight fair later because you have allowed your emotions some time to calm down and you did not say anything for the sake of making yourself look better in public.
Some Things To Think About
Fighting in private is all about self-control, and self-control starts with making an agreement (to yourself or to others) to do something you deem worthy of doing.
Agree with your partner – or whoever you are fighting with – that, no matter what, you will wait until private to argue over ANYTHING, whether it’s about how to cook a potato, how to do a work task, or how your partner hurt you by saying something rude.
If you are fighting with your partner, you may want to choose a place in your home to fight, but avoid your bedroom. Negative energy has a way of hanging around, and if you argue in your bedroom it will take on that negative energy and dampen the mood when you are in a positive state of mind. Instead, pick a room that you don’t hang out together in often, such as the laundry room or the basement, and make it the room you go to work out issues in private.
Habit 2: Time Your Arguments
You may feel like saying something directly after the moment you get angry, but it may be better to pick a later time to discuss the issue if you want to fight fair. Allowing yourself some time to cool off will give you the mental clarity that you need to handle an argument without hurtful tactics.
Contrary to previous notions, the best time to resolve a conflict may not be immediately. It is not unusual for one or both partners to need some time to cool off. – Source
Taking some time will give you the insight you need to see why you are angry and what you really want from the other person. And that’s important because if you are not clear on what you want to get out of the argument, then how can you expect them to know what you want to get out of the conversation or how to make you feel better?
How do you know it’s the right time to discuss an issue or possibly have an argument? It’s when you are thinking clearly and you can discuss the issue without being defensive.
Dr. Oz has said the best time to argue is at 8:00 am in the morning because cortisol levels are higher and you can think clearer. But, make sure you discuss the issue before your partner goes off to work, your co-worker goes home, or your friend leaves – you wouldn’t want something to happen during the day that never allows you to discuss it again.
Habit 3: Work Everything Out Completely
Do not let the argument dissolve away without working out the issue that caused the argument in the first place. By letting it dissolve away, one person (or both) may be left with an emotional injury, such as hurt, regret, feelings of being unloved or unheard, and much, much more. Those emotional injuries will impact the relationship negatively – if not now, in the future.
For instance, how many times has your partner brought up something from the past that wasn’t totally resolved between the two of you? That issue is something that still hurts them today; otherwise, they wouldn’t be bringing it up. Because it was not dealt with in the proper manner originally, it is a scar that constantly reminds them of the hurt they experienced.
Why let something from the past take up your time and affect your relationship and productivity today?
For your relationship’s health, it is important to work everything out completely. Following are some things you can do to implement this habit into your life.
1. Stop The Argument For A While
Before things get too heated, stop fighting for a while. Heightened emotions can cause distortion to what is really happening, and it can cause you and the other person to say things and act in ways that you would not do if you were calmer.
In short, it will be too late to say ‘I’m sorry I said that’ later on, and you may be too hurt to try and work through the issue.
Therefore, once the fight seems to escalate into heightened emotions, you should put some distance between the two of you before you can even think of a resolution.
However, this should not be one person leaving the home and not coming back for a day. That’s emotional abuse and it will only make everything worse. Instead, it should be a mutual and verbal agreement to stop engaging until you can both think more clearly.
2. See It From The Other Person’s Point Of View
Often in arguments, the only view you see is your own. It is much better to look at the other person’s point of view and see where they are coming from. When you do, you will be able to listen to them with an open mind and stop trying to force your opinion on them. In addition, you will be able to find out each other’s needs in the situation, and that can help you come to a win-win resolution faster.
For example, if you are fighting about one person not listening to the other person, then there are needs that are not being addressed. The person not listening may need some time by themselves to relax and unwind, while the person who is not being listened to might need to feel validated by spending time together and chatting. By understanding each other’s needs you can quickly move forward to a compromise.
3. Find A Compromise
It is important to use the information you discovered while putting yourself in their shoes and find that win-win. By using the above example, the person not listening can agree to sit down and talk after they have had some alone time to relax. This will give the person not being listened to a chance to express themselves when the other person is fully present.
When looking or a compromise, make sure that you are being honest with them and they are being honest with you. There is no way that you can come to a win-win situation when one of you is not fully being honest. Both of your needs should be met in order to really feel good about the situation.
Now that you have come to a compromise, take time to forgive before moving on. Forgiveness is so powerful and important for the relationship and for your productivity! Once you do it, you will be able to move on from the argument without resentment, blame, or any other negative emotion and get busy focusing on other things in your life.
Start by asking the other person to forgive your anger or hurtful words, and then forgive them when they ask you for the same. Hug, kiss, or shake hands – depending on the relationship, and move on from the argument.
We Tried And We Can’t Do This
If you tried the above four steps, and you find that you cannot work towards a resolution, counseling may be in order. There is something holding you back from going through the process, and a professional may be able to help you find that something.
Even though seeking help outside of the relationship can be hard, it will be well worth it when you tackle issues that are holding you back from having healthier arguments.
Habit 4: Clean Out Your Mess At Home
This is probably something that you have never thought of, but a messy house can promote a messy relationship. Clutter promotes negative energy, such as stress. And according to experts, depression and stress can go hand in hand.
Depression can make you feel irritable, hopeless, and affect your physical health, and those things can contribute to tension in all your relationships.
Now, I’m obviously not saying that if you have a messy house you are going to be depressed, but I am saying that combined with genetics and other factors, a messy house can increase the likelihood of stress, which can contribute to depression – or at the very least anxiety and irritability.
You will be amazed at the difference an organized and clean house, car, and any other environment makes to your relationship and your productivity.
Habit 5: Overcome Baggage
Baggage can cause even the most rational person to not fight fair. Baggage is emotional turmoil that was brought about by someone or something from the past.
It is bad for your personal productivity and your relationship’s happiness, which – as we’ve established – adds to your reduced productivity.
Baggage includes things such as:
- Resentment towards your ex
- Bad feelings about your past jobs
- Unresolved feelings towards your ex
- Life issues that have not been dealt with
- Experiences with people and situations that you have not forgiven
- Family issues that cause your partner or other people to become involved negatively
In order for a relationship to work really smoothly, you need to manage the baggage or get rid of it completely.
The good news is that everyone is capable of working through negative past experiences. Seriously! If you don’t think so, look at Viktor Frankl, a man who survived the holocaust, but lost his wife, mother, father, and brother. He went on to have a happy life with happy relationships. If he can work through his issues, you can!
How To Let Go Of Anger From Past Issues
It can be hard to forgive someone who has done you wrong. It doesn’t matter what type of relationship you have with them. They could be a spouse, friend, family member, or even your next-door neighbor. If they have hurt you in some way, then you may be holding on to feelings of anger and hurt.
We tend to not want to forgive someone because we don’t want them to feel like what they did was okay. We want them to know that they hurt us and that they need to pay for that hurt. But forgiving someone is not really about them. It’s more for your benefit than anything.
Just because you forgive someone doesn’t mean you are saying that they were right. For instance, family members of murder victims do not forgive the killers because they are admitting that what they did was okay – that is obvious. No, they forgive so that they can let go of the anger or hatred and move on with their lives without this cloud of negativity that is hanging over their head and holding them back.
1. YOU Deserve Total Happiness
When you forgive someone, you free yourself from the negativity of the situation. You allow yourself to move on with your life and get out of an unhealthy state of anger. And, you don’t let THEM control how YOU feel anymore. You are doing yourself, your relationships, and your productivity in life a huge favor!
Living with regret, anger, hatred, or any other negative feeling blocks you from living a truly happy life. You can’t be fully happy when you are holding in anger. You can’t enjoy yourself and live with passion when you stop and think about what that person did to you all the time.
BUT when you forgive someone and get on with living your life, you can enjoy your life for what it is right now. You can remove the hold that they have on you and start taking charge of your own life and happiness.
2. The Present Moment is Worth Living In!
Secondly, you are allowing yourself to live in the present moment when you forgive.
When you are holding on to past trespasses against you, then you are living in the past. Living in the past robs you of this moment right now – or what I like to call your real life.
For instance, you recall what someone did to you in the past and you let it ruin your day instead of enjoying the here and now. You think about what you would have, should have, or could have done. Then you let your day slip by and miss the wonderful and good things that happen in it because your focus is on the past. You are living in the past and letting your precious time right now slip away.
All we have is now. Forgive the past and focus on the now for a happy and fulfilling life.
3. They Are Who They Are
The greatest gift that you can give to others is the gift of unconditional love and acceptance. – Brian Tracy
Thirdly, there is a simple truth that you have to remember about people who do stupid things. If they would have known better, they would’ve done better.
They did the best they could with what they had. If they had been a more loving, happy, kind, or positive person, then the chances are pretty good that they would not have hurt you in whatever way they did. But they did the best with what they had.
This simple truth should be enough to let you forgive them without anger. It should allow you to see that they really are who they are and don’t have the capacity to do any better.
For instance, if they hurt you by calling you a name, then they obviously do not have a whole lot of compassion for other people’s feelings. If they did have that compassion, then they wouldn’t have called you that name!
If they don’t have a lot of compassion for others, then they are probably walking around and spreading misery to more people than just you, which in turn spreads negativity to their own lives. So, in essence, they are not happy people in their own lives.
Another example? Let’s say someone cheated on you and you really want to forgive them so that you can just move on with life. Then you have to remember that they would have done better if they knew better. Maybe they don’t think about how their actions affect other people, or they don’t have great morals, or they are selfish, or they don’t think cheating is a bad thing in their own mind. Who knows?
Whatever it is, if they had been a person who thinks before they act, and takes into consideration their partner’s feelings and the consequences of their actions, then they wouldn’t have cheated. So it’s about them, not you. Move on and stop allowing it to affect your current relationships and your productivity.
Habit 6: Remember That Your Words Can Hurt Or Repair
Always watch what you say to other people in arguments. Your words have the power to hurt them deeply OR repair their soul. And you always get to choose what you say and how you affect them.
It can be easy to get caught up in your ego during a discussion or argument and say something you regret, but you may sometimes just be in a bad mood and allow some hurtful words to come out. Or you may say something that you KNOW will hurt them in some way.
If you think your words may hurt someone, then don’t say them. And if you need them to hear something that may hurt them, then say it in the nicest way possible.
Follow the golden rule: If you have nothing nice to say then don’t say anything at all. And if you see an opportunity to uplift someone today, then do it! The better your relationships are, the more productive and happy you will be in life.
Check Out This New Free Masterclass
When it comes to building win-win relationships, there’s no one better to learn it from than Keith Ferrazzi, New York Times bestselling author of the book Never Eat Alone.
Keith is not your regular coach.
From his humble beginnings as a poor kid in rural Pennsylvania, working at the age of 11 for a mere $20 a day, he became the youngest executive appointed in the Fortune 500. He became CMO of Deloitte, and then CMO of Starwood Hotels by the age of just 32.
And he is hosting a FREE Masterclass with Mindvalley where you'll discover the secrets of deeply connecting with anyone and building your dream network to achieve your biggest career & life goals.