Doing Life Together

We need to talkOne of the keys to resolving conflict is to keep anger in control, to stay calm and not allow anger to overtake you. Here are 10 tips to help that process:

  1. Use humor to break the tension. Nothing lightens the atmosphere of a fight or argument that an appropriate joke or use of humor. This is one of the best ways to settle things down.
  2. Ask yourself if there is any truth to what the other person is saying. It’s easy to go on the defensive when confronted. But instead of reacting with anger, pause and ask if there is any truth to what the person is saying.
  3. Express some affection or a word of caring during an argument. Adding a positive in the middle of a problem softens the blow.
  4. Use a momentary distraction to lower tension. You can say something like, “Your hair sure looks good today.” Or “I know we are fighting but I’m thinking about how much I love you.”
  5. Agree to one point of positive change. If you stay angry, you can’t think. So slow down that anger emotion and think about a change you could make that would help the situation.
  6. Be empathetic. Empathy keeps anger levels down. If you can see the other person’s perspective, you will better understand the person and their motivation.
  7. Change your negative thought to a positive one that makes you feel valuable. If you really struggle with angry thoughts that come from feeling inadequate or worthless, think about a time you were successful or did something positive. Better yet, think about how God values you.
  8. Tolerate distress and tension, knowing it won’t last forever. This is part of maturing.
  9. Focus on your response as a choice. You can harm or help.
  10. Check your physical and mental states. If you are tired, sick, hungry, anxious, overwhelmed, etc., you are more likely to respond poorly. Wait until you feel better to address an important issue.


Excerpt and adapted from We Need to Talk by Linda Mintle, Ph.D. (Baker Books, 2015)



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