Everyone has arguments. No matter how healthy the friendship, disagreements will always happen. They can arise from something as silly as an opinion over a topic to as serious as the best way to raise your children. Anyone who has been involved in a big argument knows just how quickly things can escalate. It is extremely important to be careful with the words that you speak. Every single phrase you utter will either escalate or deescalate the situation.
“You always….” / “You never….”
Avoid speaking in absolutes. No one always or never does anything.
DON’T SAY: “You always forget to lock the door when you leave the house,”
DO SAY: “Please try to remember to lock the door when you are leaving the house.”
“You should…” / “You could have…”
Use “I” instead of “you” whenever possible. Avoid statements like this.
“Why didn’t you…?”
This makes a person feel defensive.
“I would have…”
But, it wasn’t you. No need to say what you would have done.
“You make me…?”
No good can from any statement (made in anger) starting with this phrase.
“Don’t be childish!”
This is condescending. While the issue may not be a big deal to you, keep in mind that it is a big deal to the other person.
“Real mature (sarcastic).”
Sarcasm will never turn out well in an argument.
“Let’s be logical about this.”
Whether you mean it or not, saying this phrase insinuates that the other person is not being logical.
Speaking in this tone comes off as arrogant and will make a person defensive. What is reasonable to you may not be reasonable to the other person. “Remember, your reality isn’t the only reality.” – Carol Clifton, Phd
“You started it.”
This statement suggests you care more about winning the argument than resolving the argument.
“You’re just like your mom/dad.”
Leave other people out of the argument.
“You’re so sensitive.”
Some people are more sensitive than others. No need to make it into an insult. Whether the person is sensitive or not, it doesn’t change the way the person feels.
“Fight Fair: Winning At Conflict Without Losing at Love”, Tim & Joy Downs, 2010