Dr. Seth Meyers, Clinical Psychologist

Dr. Seth Meyers, Clinical Psychologist

Friday, March 27, 2009

Communication Tips & Conflict Resolution

Regardless of who you’re arguing with, whether friend, partner, family member or co-worker, this so-called crime is committed every day by countless individuals who later regret it. I’m talking about name-calling when you’re in the heat of the moment and you use severe terminology to make your ultimate point.

The first thing that may come to your mind is the notion that I’m talking about name-calling that involves swear words or profane language. The reality is that hurtful name-calling doesn’t require profane language. Calling someone an “idiot,” for example, can have a long-lasting consequence in a relationship.

The problem during arguments occurs when one or both begin name-calling and use blanket terms to describe the other. Saying to someone “you’re such a…” or exclaiming “what a…” sums the other up in a negative way and dismisses them altogether. While some people can brush off names and defend against feeling hurt by them, others feel particularly sensitive to this. In fact, being called a name by someone you know can cause hurt that exacerbates the pre-existing argument. In this case, you’ve got even more to fight about.

A good rule of thumb as you’re arguing is to try to stay focused on the very thing you started arguing about in the first place. Name calling simply creates more problems and adds new things to argue about. Ultimately, each person ends up feeling more angry and hurt, and so they seek refuge in private corners.

When you’re having an argument, let yourself express your feelings but try to keep your eye on the ball. When it comes to the person you are arguing with, you will most likely still maintain a relationship with them after the argument is over. Accordingly, you need to avoid name-calling and learn to argue more responsibly.

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