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Relationship Tip #2: Soften your “start up”

Raise issues “softly”. Discussions invariably end on the same note they begin with. If you start harshly by attacking or criticising your partner verbally it will usually escalate and make the conflict bigger. They will instantly be in ‘fight or flight ‘ mode.

It’s ok in a relationship to have complaints but how do we begin those discussion in a way so the other person is more likely to listen rather than get defensive.

  • Use ‘I’ statements talking from your perspective, how you feel, be specific about the behaviour or situation that is affecting you to help the person understand, and say how you would like things to be different.
  • Bring the subject up when you are both calm, don’t wait until you are both upset or in an argument about something else to bring it up.
  • Stay focused on the subject; don’t get distracted by “tit for tat’ battles, old resentments, or ammunition from the past.

If either of you are getting too upset, take a break, calm down, and then come back together to talk again. You may not come up with the solution the first time but the aim is to understand each other better which will help you work together on the issue.

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