Arguments are a normal part of any kind of relationship, whether it’s romantic, platonic, or professional.
As humans, we’re bound to come across someone or something we disagree with at some point in our daily lives.
It’s not always easy to maintain a respectful tone, no matter how hard we try. But, how can you prevent an argument from spiraling into a full-blown argument?
Don’t try to solve problems, regulate your emotions, acknowledge the other person’s feelings, anchor your mind to your breath, and stay in the moment are the best ways to de-escalate an argument.
After you have asked the real problem, redirect the situation once it has de-escalated and solve it calmly.
Luckily, you are in the right article. If you are looking for some advice when you’re in a heated argument, we have it here.
We tackle the best ways to de-escalate an argument and make you more resilient in the future.
Be calm in arguing for fierceness makes error a fault and truth discourtesy.–George Herbert–
8 Best Ways to De-Escalate an Argument
Emotions can run high, hurtful words are thrown out, and past sins are brought to light during heated discussions.
It is possible to enter a discussion with good intentions and end up in a conflict that is harmful to both parties.
Getting into a fight can be terrifying if you’re particularly vulnerable. It’s common for people with a high level of sensitivity to approach arguments with a lot of anxiety and defense.
Arguments are a sensitive person’s worst nightmare because their nervous system perceives conflict as overly threatening.
Furthermore, if you are prone to taking things personally when they are said or done in a heated moment, recovering from a conflict can be even more difficult.
In the end, it’s never too late to resolve a disagreement. Every healthy relationship and organization will have some level of conflict at some point.
When done correctly, it has the potential to spur growth and change that otherwise would not be possible.
Keep these tips in mind if you find yourself in a heated debate. This may be able to assist you in de-escalating the situation and getting your life back on track.
1. Regulate your own emotions
Maintain a calm demeanor when approaching the other person. Take a moment to gather your thoughts, take a deep breath, and tell yourself that you can do it before getting started.
Don’t get caught up in the escalation and respond when you’re hot and bothered.
2. Acknowledge the other person’s feelings.
Don’t get caught up in whether the other person is correct or incorrect. Simply pay attention and acknowledge their feelings. Make them feel heard and understood by validating what they’re saying.
In this situation, feelings matter a lot to sensitive people. Assume the other person’s feelings and try to understand them.
Even if you disagree, don’t dismiss their feelings. Begin by confirming or praising the other’s feelings.
If you validate someone, they are less likely to be caught up in their thoughts trying to build a defense and therefore more likely to listen to you.
The first step is regaining control over the other person’s emotions. You and someone you had an argument with can then look into whatever you need.
3. Don’t try to solve the problem or fix the situation.
People who have been escalated are no longer cognitively capable of critical thinking. If you go into problem-solving mode, this will not be a good match for the situation and may even make it worse.
4. Stay in the moment; don’t leave unless it’s necessary.
Walking away from the situation may make the other person feel dismissed or disrespected, potentially escalating the situation.
Only leave if you are in immediate physical danger and have a plan in place. Stay present, let the other person know you’re there for them, control your emotions, and validate their feelings if all else fails.
5. Exercise emotional regulation and self-control
When the agitated person sees you acting calmly and compassionately, it inspires them to act similarly. The escalated individual will follow your example. A harsh tone or harsh words can easily hurt a sensitive person’s feelings.
Experts advise you to use that instinct to improve yourself. Remember that nonverbal communication is more effective than verbal communication.
Body language and tone must match words to appear genuine. Use a calm, gentle tone and a relaxed body. Relaxing your posture can help your brain relax.
It’s also possible that the person with whom you’re arguing will adopt your mannerisms after you. After all, yelling at someone who isn’t responding is harder.
6. Learn those “I” statements
To be sensitive and quick to react is a good idea for everyone. Make the switch from “you make me feel” to “I feel”. It will help you calm down and express yourself without enraging the other person.
Statements like “I” help the sensitive person summarize their thoughts before responding, which is a common active listening tactic. “I” statements can help clarify a situation when a disagreement arises.
7. Anchor Your Mind To Your Breath
When your emotions are out of whack, you can use your body to re-calibrate your emotions. Breathing can help you regulate emotions and stay present during a fight. As the argument progresses, take a few deep breaths.
Watch your chest rise and fall as the air fills your lungs. This method provides a physical way to gain clarity for other de-escalation techniques.
Once you’ve regained control of your breathing, stay focused. Don’t be too loud or aggressive in your body language. Take a deep breath and imagine the other’s fear, confusion, or misinterpretation.
8. Redirect and problem-solve once the situation has de-escalated.
Identifying what led up to the point of escalation, clarifying miscommunication or misunderstood intentions, brainstorming solutions, weighing pros and cons, developing a plan of action to correct the problem, and then taking action are all examples of redirecting or problem-solving.
Making sure you understand the other person’s point of view is an important part of de-escalating a situation.
If you don’t listen to them and ask questions when you’re unsure, you won’t be able to achieve this.
Asking the person why they are angry is preferable to absorbing all of their negative feelings. Transform the conversation from a feeling-based exchange to one based on actual knowledge.
This will reduce the intensity of the strong emotions and relieve the stress of the sensitive individual.
Anyone who has ever been involved in a fight can tell you that it’s not fun. To be sensitive is to feel as though you’ve lost everything because of an argument you had with a friend.
There is a lot of work involved in learning how to de-escalate an argument when you’re sensitive to criticism.
The following advice is not intended to help you win an argument, but rather to defuse it. There is no such thing as a generic argument.
If you want to have a healthy relationship, you need to learn how to argue well and keep disagreements from spiraling out of control.
No matter how sensitive you are, you can’t avoid a fight. There are other many ways to de-escalate a situation that are both effective and non-emotional.
Fortunately, you now have access to a wealth of information that can make your life a little bit easier in the future. Having better communication skills leads to fewer resentments.