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Arguing is often seen as destructive, it is also often believed to be synonymous with relationships in difficulty. But then, some psychologists have said the people who never argue are also in an unhealthy relationship.

Having worked for years in conflict resolution, in families and in the workplace, I have watched lots of arguments. It’s a privileged position from which to observe how people argue, forensically. I have also participated in quite a few ‘domestics’ of my own (just because I know some stuff at work it doesn’t always follow that I can do it at home!).

Arguing need not be destructive. I’m not promoting it as a strategy and the old saw about ‘clearing the air’ has its own air stable-door logic, but done right, even a heated argument can be a valuable exchange. The problem in not that we argue, but how we argue.

Productive arguments bear all the hallmarks of good communications – like listening, acknowledgment and recognition of the other’s points – just as destructive arguments break all the rules and seek only annihilation.

Done properly, arguments strengthen relationships so that, taken to their logical conclusion, arguments finally become unnecessary.

 

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