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Fighting fair: Express your feelings

December 6, 2011

It’s Tuesday which means it’s time to get back on track with our Fighting Fair series. You ready?! To catch us up a bit, we started with an overview of the Eight Ground Rules then jumped into Softening your Startup and Avoiding Blaming Statements. Today is all about feeeelings.

The rule is that it’s better {and more fruitful} to discuss your emotions, or how you feel about a situation/event/issue, rather than the details of what happened. Couples, even friends and relatives, can argue ad nauseam about the details. He said, she said. You did this, no I actually I did that. This is what happened, no this is what happened. Around and around and around they go.

Conversely, when you discuss your feelings, you’re not only taking responsibility for yourself, you’re also getting to the core of the issue. And, really, it’s the core–whatever was stirred up for you in that moment or whatever sensitivity was triggered by the event–that matters. It’s also important to be aware of how you’re feeling in the moment. While you’re talking to your partner, are you feeling angry? Frustrated? Flustered? Pointing these emotions out can help to steer an argument away from the content and point towards the deeper issues as well.

It’s important to note that the key is self-disclosure. You’re not pointing out how your partner is feeling. You’re owning your own emotions. Even more, you’re attempting to explain why those emotions came up for you and how you can avoid that sensitive spot in the future. Remember The Feedback Wheel?

So, the next time you’re stuck in an argument or find yourself going in circles with your partner, take a step back. What’s really being discussed? Is it content and details? If so, attempt to redirect the conversation to a deeper level and focus more on expressing your emotions. It may not avoid conflict or magically solve the argument but it will have positive effects–on you personally as well as your relationship. Talking about feelings is good for you. I promise. 🙂


One Comment leave one →
  1. December 6, 2011 7:03 pm

    Too funny-John and I usually get into it about how what I’m feeeeeeling isn’t what he meant for me to feeeeeel. It’s making me giggle just thinking about how silly that particular argument is!

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