I'm super stressed about work and a ton of other things in life right now, so my boyfriend and I have been complaining to each other a lot but it turns into mini arguments after a while.
The reason our fights always end well? We listen to each other.
I tell him exactly what I want from him (for example, "I don't want advice right now, I just need you to sympathize a little and let me vent") and he knows how to talk about his frustrations in a way that makes us work together to solve the problem.
It's never "me vs you," its "this vs us."
Here are a few tips to use during your next argument.
1. "You Don't Have To Solve This — It Helps Me Just To Talk To You."
Like I said, for me work is really hard right now. My boyfriend knows that I'm tough and often encourages me to solve the problem but sometimes I'm just too tired or defeated - I've tried to fix this for a year and no one is listening so PLEASE don't tell me to try again.
Using the phrase above is a non-confrontational way to let your partner know you need a considerate ear, not advice. You aren't blaming them for whatever you're mad about, you just want their shoulder to lean on.
Plus, it's actually a compliment in disguise :)
2. "This Is Important To Me. Please Listen."
You would think listening is a built-in function of any argument, but most of the time, we're too busy calculating what to say next to truly pay attention to our partner's words.
Use this and wait a couple of seconds before stating the most important points you want to get across.
3. "I Can See My Part In This."
Admit that you're part of the problem. Sure, you might think you aren't, but if your partner does than try to see it in their eyes. Admit that in some way you played a part.
No one likes the blame to be wholly placed on them - even out the load a little.
4. "This Isn't Just Your Problem, It's Our Problem."
This statement can change the fight dynamic from you vs. them to us vs. this problem.
5. "I Love You."
Nothing throws off an argument better than this ultimate proclamation of affection.
As hard as it can be to say during a verbal smack down, it is an immediate reminder of the basic bonds you share.
And, don't forget to reciprocate your partner's own attempts to cool the argument down. Being empathetic is key to mastering this technique.