Can Argument Guidelines Make Your Fights “Better”?
Arguments can spiral out of control quickly… having agreements and signals ahead of time can make a huge difference. Letting your partner know what triggers you have and learning theirs, can help you resolve things lots faster! Cathy Vartuli from http://www.TheIntimacyDojo.com and Reid Mihalko from http://www.ReidAboutSex.com share.
Here’s the link to the Cool Down Styles article: http://ReidAboutSex.com/Cool-Down-Styles/
Cathy: One of our viewers wrote in and said, I’m wondering if I’m weird. I love to have- yeah if you watch us you’re probably weird.
Reid: If you’re watching us, you’re weird.
Cathy: He wanted to know if he was weird because when he’s in a relationship, early on, he likes to establish argument guidelines with his partners.
Cathy: And know ahead of time what things might trigger each of them and have signals for like, whoa I need a few minutes or, I’m going to go cool off or things like that.
Cathy: I’m Cathy Vartuli from http://TheIntimacyDojo.com
Reid: I’m Reid Mihalko from http://ReidAboutSex.com. Basically they have a pitcher catcher signal thing in baseball.
Reid: That’s not weird.
Cathy: I think it’s brilliant. Knowing- if you know your triggers in an argument and you can share them with your partner and invite them to share, you’re going to … For me, raised voices are a big trigger. I know that if someone raises a voice, even if they’re not mad at me, I’m going to be like … not as present and not as able to engage in the conversation.
If you can share that with your partner ahead of time and have a signal to remind them, like time out or let’s take a minute-
Reid: I like this one …
Cathy: It’s so respectful and encouraging, yes. I encourage you to identify your triggers and have signals. You talk about cool down styles which I think is really powerful. We’ll put the link down below.
Different people need different things when they’re angry. You like to just stay present and go through it-
Reid: I can stay angry. That’s my thing. Basically, without being a jackass about this, figuring out and being able to communicate what your needs are to further the productivity of a conversation is really useful. If you need to be able to take a time out, you need to build into your relationship this means time out. Somebody having a heated discussion with you who doesn’t know why you’re doing this, is really freaking annoying.
You build in, this is how I like to handle when I get triggered. How about when you get triggered? Rather than, when you get triggered, I need you to do this, which isn’t very collaborative and doesn’t work so well. Always talk about here are the things I need that work really well for me to stay connected, to have a conversation when I get triggered.
Why that’s useful is you’re telling them it’s okay to be triggered. Let’s find a way to make this work. Then have signals to be able to communicate and ask for what you want. Sometimes you get so triggered …
Cathy: It’s hard.
Reid: You don’t have words. You need space, and the way you do that is you turn around and walk out of the room and slam the freaking door.
Cathy: If someone has abandonment issues, that’s not going to work well if they don’t know.
Reid: It’s a very clear signal, it’s just not very graceful. What are the things that you need when you get triggered in a conversation? Then what would be a graceful signal for you to be able to come up with to communicate that to whomever you’re talking to?
Cathy: Yeah. You can also evolve over time. Know that even if you set this up early in a relationship, you’ll learn each other and your styles may evolve over time. You can request new things later. One of the things I love that Reid talks about too is when you’re arguing if you want to touch a knee or keep a foot against each other so that you’re still connected, that can be really soothing and very loving.
Reid: Yeah. What I usually do is I have Cathy take her finger and put it in my ear and help me do that.
Cathy: If I’m really mad at him, I use the middle finger.
Reid: Yeah. She pushes really hard.
Cathy: It goes right through.
Reid: What are your graceful ways to signal and communicate what your needs are when you get triggered?
Reid: Leave them below. Thanks for listening.
More articles on improving communications and relationship skills: