How to Free Yourself from an Argument

  1. Desist from judging others: you can follow this golden rule and be done with it. However it easier to say it than see it done. I see myself in this pitfall every day. Wherever I go, I am surrounded by situations and people challenging my convictions and my perspective in life. Passing judgment is nothing more than filtering the way you see others through your own prejudices or beliefs. What you see “wrong” or disapprove in others it may be a reflection of your internal makeup based on previous experiences. Sometimes, more often than not, we criticize others because we just don’t understand or won’t allow considering other points of view and use our own experiences or worst someone else’s experience to judge others. Thus we label others as different even inferior because it doesn’t go in line with what we believe being a fact or not. Instead see yourself in others and allow yourself to be open to a different perspective. What is ok for me it is a sin for others and vice-versa so strive to be neutral and replace any thoughts or feelings of judging others with positive thoughts. It could be as simple as saying: “I don’t have any facts, reason or proof to be thinking in that way towards this person” or “I am not in his/her shoes so I won’t allow opportunity for criticism”. Even if you have gone through a similar experience the circumstances are never the same for everyone and so are the results. Silence is the best choice when feeling the urge of being opinionated. Turn your volume down and listen to the other person rather than waiting for your turn to talk and make your point. To win an argument may cause temporary victory, but is a longtime defeat on your personal relations. Allowing listening to others builds compassion, humility and gain true understanding of the other person’s position. It really put things to consider on a balance and what’s best it allows you to appreciate yourself and others. This is an attitude shift that must be in check at all times. Do not be discouraged if it doesn’t happen right away as it takes practice to leave behind old habits and false beliefs. Just the fact that you’re catching yourself up in the act; about to pass judgment onto others is telling you that your sub-conscious is aware of it and you’re allowing the opportunity to see things from a different perspective. With daily practice and the ever present awareness of the moment, you will shift towards accepting others as they are.
  2. Be the first to say I’m sorry: another golden rule to enrich relationships and difficult for many to adopt because it involves dealing with our egos. In an argument the tendency for each party is to win, victory over defeat. Nobody likes being defeated; it has been embedded in our consciousness since childhood, to be the winner vs. the looser. Winning over an argument in a relationship is a temporary victory and more than likely will bring repercussions on the long run because the loser, your partner, friend, co-worker’s ego is being left defeated with no consolation. If you care about others and want to maintain a good harmonious relationship, go for a truce as soon as the argument arises. Instead of stating your argument, say “I AM SORRY” immediately and openly. Regardless of who is at fault saying these magical words will disarm the other person’s reason to argue and the argument will become null. You’re not giving in or being weak by doing this but you both become winners by allowing the opportunity to honor your relationship instead of letting inflated egos ruin a relationship for nothing. Saying “I am sorry for what is happening” will make you a stronger person because you value your relationship more than your ego and if the other person respects the relationship will also drop any intention to argue. Then both can work together for a friendly solution, saving and perhaps making the relationship stronger.
  3. Ask for advice: If the mountain will not come to Mohammed, Mohammed must go to the mountain. This proverbial idiom suggest that when things don’t change the way we want them to, then we must adjust to the way they are. When in the middle of a losing argument, one that it seems it will never end, if no solution is presented then go for rule # 2 and then ask for advice to find a solution and finish the argument. If you’re asking for advice with true honesty and good intentions, you will free from self and look in others for a solution that would benefit both parties. You are allowing the other person to be the first to offer closure to the argument by showing that you care and respect the relationship. This is one way to turn an argument to a friendly discussion. Forget self and seek help from others even if you think you have the best solution. Allow cooperation rather than telling what needs to happen.
  4. Ask the right questions instead of criticizing: Instead of “why you did that?” which allows room for an argument, say “I like to understand what make you to do that, can you explain?” this opens up for discussion rather than argument. Obviously if the person is not receptive you may want to wait until things cool off and suggest a better time to discuss or leave it where it is. Bowing out and leaving the mat instead of fighting a lost cause will only hurt feelings and will distance you from others. Timing is critical when conserving relationship. There is a time for action and a time of inaction. Being a good listener without uttering a word may be the best remedy to finish an argument. Try instead of suggest questions to allow the other person to find his/her own resolution to the problem or argument. See things from the other person perspective and use non-incriminating questions to find an amicable solution. If in doubt follow rule # 1 always!
  5. Detach yourself from the argument: It takes two to quarrel; see you as an outsider, the impartial mediator. Help the other person to save face by refraining any direct criticism or opinion to the subject. Abstain to offer your opinion unless is requested and even so be careful not to pass any judgment or go overboard expressing your views on the topic. Refer to rule # 1, remain silent and practice active listening, being compassionate with others.