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The real problem when two people have a problem is that they see the problem as an obstacle, rather than an opportunity to talk.

I know this sounds a bit like trite trainer-talk, but if it is repeated so often (by me anyway), it is because it’s true.

Arguments are seen as combat, but they don’t need to be. Instead, take a deep breath, and try an opener like:

“So we disagree, what can we do about it?”

“My interest is in resolving this, not in fighting.”

“We are both angry, so we won’t be able to sort this out now. When shall we come back to it so we can discuss it and find a solution we both agree on?”

Sure, the other person will continue to verbally assault you, but stick with it. Demonstrate sincere intent and you could open up a meaningful discussion. If you don’t, at least you’ll have transcended the mess and reduced your own stress levels.

It may take two people to start a fight, but it only takes one to stop it.

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